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Independent retail sees strong first quarter
Results reveal 414 more stores have opened than closes in Q1 2017.

By Victoria Jackson

10 May 2017

The retail sector could be strengthening in 2017 after years of decline and small gains, data released by cloud-based point of sale software Vend and LC, in partnership with the British Independent Retail Association (BIRA), reveals. 
 
Data from BIRA shows that across independent retail, more shops opened than closed in the first quarter of 2017. This was an increase of +414 shops in the first three months of the year, equalling 4 new stores a day, compared to a net increase of just +4 shops in 2016.
 
These figures are supported by Vend’s customer data, which shows a 15 per cent increase in sales and retail spending in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, based on a sample of 1,000 UK Vend retailers. In London, where Vend has a large concentration of independent retail customers, sales rose by 18 per cent in Q1 compared to last year.
 
“Despite concern around elections and the economy, it’s great to see retail starting off the year strong,” says Marc Cooper, vice president EMEA at Vend. “In this competitive environment though, it’s so important for independent retailers to have access to the same tools and insights big retailers have. And stores that already have this are seeing some amazing results, such as London retailers Number Six, which has had 40 per cent growth thanks to implementing a cloud system.”
 
Alan Hawkins, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association adds; “One of the biggest challenges for retailers is attracting customers in the changing retail environment. 
 
“Traditional retailers are under pressure and access to the technology that enables them to reduce costs, open new outlets or pop-ups, and easily offer eCommerce options can really stimulate growth. While our data for the first quarter of this year is still a way off the 11 store openings a week we saw in 2010, it is certainly a big step in the right direction,” he adds. 
 
Vend is offering one UK retailer the chance to win a “Retail Growth Package” for their business, worth £20,000. The prize consist of software and services vital to helping facilitate growth, including £6,000 of retail technology, £7,000 of retail support and £8,000 of street marketing.
 
Details of the competition draw and how to apply are available at vendhq.com/london. The deadline for the competition entries is 12 June 2017. 


 
 
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