New York, NY, (June 2, 2011) – USA born Independent Retailer Month is today announcing its UK partner The Retail Champion as the initiative expands globally to celebrate independent retail businesses during the month of July 2011. UK-based retail expert, Clare Rayner, is widely known as The Retail Champion because of her passion and commitment to helping retailers optimise the performance of their business to make it into a scalable and saleable proposition.

Independent Retail Month: Background and History

Independent Retailer Month is the collaboration of two very different individuals who share a common desire to salute independent retailers around the globe. In 2003, Tom Shay, principal of Profits Plus, created a holiday, ‘Independent Retailer Week’ to show retailers how they could create celebrations for their communities, industries and own businesses. In 2009 Kerry Bannigan, CEO Nolcha, originally devised a plan to advance the business of independent fashion retailers via a weeklong city wide shopping extravaganza in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Recognition for ALL involved in Independent Retailing

Discussions began between Bannigan and Shay as they wanted to focus on all independent retailing, regardless of what products they sold. Bannigan and Shay wanted to be inclusive of everyone that had some form of recognition for independent retailing in the hope that Independent Retailer Month would be become the umbrella for all. Hence, what was a week for each of these two individuals and their groups became a month for everyone.

Today’s independent retailers are tomorrows multiples…

Kerry Bannigan, CEO Nolcha and Co-Creator of Independent Retailer Month, shares: “We are thrilled to have a UK partner who shares our understanding of  the economic value add of new business including independent retail and that a buzzing high street with a great mix of both chains and indie is good for all retailers. The next generation of big are today’s independents.”

Celebrating the diversity and creativity that comes from Independent Retailers

Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, founder and managing director of The Retail Conference and Retail Acumen said “I am delighted to be invited to participate in this exciting campaign and very proud to have been selected as the official UK partner. July 2011 will be an opportunity for everyone with an interest in retailing to celebrate the diversity and creativity that the independents bring to the sector as a whole.”

Save the High Street – make shopping social and fun again!

Rayner is encouraging people to simply remind consumers the benefits of shopping local, of exploring what’s closest to home; all high street retailers will see an increase in footfall, regardless of their size. She strongly believes believe that the only way to “save the high street” is to bring back the enjoyable, social side of retailing and hopes that by celebrating and supporting independent retailers a few more will be encouraged to go for growth and open new stores.

Independent Retailers are an important part of the local economy

Rayner adds “Together we can highlight the part independent retailers play in providing local employment, local community services and in being a route to market for smaller local producers. One thing to stress is that during a time when we are all celebrating the contribution independent retailers make to the sector we are by no means dismissing the value that the multiples add. One by one, step by step, if we all work together to enable their success they will in turn bring back the vibrancy, diversity and excitement that has been lacking on the high street in recent years”

For more information or to contact the campaign

Global website | UK specific

For non-UK media inquiries contact: Rebecca Strong | | For UK Media enquiries contact: Erin Oakley | or call 0844 4145153


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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