Last weekend Black Friday and Cyber Monday brought the UK’s retailers into focus. While not everybody agrees the US-import is necessarily a good thing for UK businesses, the numbers – not to mention the TV tugs of war – were staggering, with John Lewis racking up a tablet sale every second and recording its strongest ever week of sales. But last weekend, attention rightly shifted to the smaller, independent retailers, seeing the return of Small Business Saturday on December 6th.
Small Business Saturday is another US import, conceived and first promoted by American Express in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday. It made its way across the Atlantic last year when sales topped £460m. Attracting significant attention on Facebook and Twitter, organisers expect this year to be even bigger, with retailers right across the country taking part.
In my local area in Fulham, West London, North End Road was closed off and the area was packed with shoppers ‘buying local’. It was a great buzz.
Independent retailers are key to our retail future; they are the true innovators when it comes to new ideas and trends – in Fulham, a new café has sprung up called ‘Shot’. What’s different and innovative about a café you might ask? But ‘Shot’ is packed full from 6.00am to 10.00pm whether for a simple Espresso to an Aperol Spritzer at ‘Apero’ time, full with Milanese-style stuzzachini nibbles. People pile out onto the street at night. They have even opened ‘ice and a slice’ opposite (Gelati and Pizza slices) The Starbucks nearby is sombre and half-full.
A final ironic twist to the AMEX-sponsored Small Business Saturday found on a North End Road stall