Success for Forum’s Small Business Saturday free parking campaign

This year’s Small Business Saturday UK has succeeded in building on the success of last year’s inaugural event. The annual campaign, which originated in the US, encourages consumers to support small shops and businesses in their community. Research conducted shortly after 6th December suggests that the UK’s independent retailers benefited from £504m in sales on the day – up £36m on last year.

The campaign also succeeded in increasing local council involvement this year with 55% of all UK local authorities supporting the campaign – a 15% growth on last year. As many of our members are small high street business, the Forum played its part by writing to local authorities to ask them to support small businesses by waiving parking charges for Small Business Saturday UK.

Local authorities responded enthusiastically with much creating bespoke parking offers to help drive footfall on the day.  A total of 62 local councils answered the call, a 50% increase on last year when we did the same thing.

Small businesses on the UK’s high streets have continued to be hard pressed over the past few years. The Forum’s latest Cost of Doing Business survey revealed small firms have seen costs increase with 70% of businesses reporting an increase in energy costs, and 65% seeing a rise in marketing and raw materials and stock costs. Business rates also continue to be a problem for smaller retailers.

Commenting on the success of this year’s event, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, Phil Orford MBE said:

“Last year, the call to shop local saw over £460 million spent on Small Business Saturday. It is great to see that this year 16.5 million people chose to shop at local, independently-owned businesses on the day.”

“The Forum has been a strong supporter of Small Business Saturday UK from the beginning.  We are delighted that over 60 local authorities answered our call to waive parking charges as an added incentive to entice shoppers to shop small and support their local high street heroes, in the first weekend of that all-important run up to Christmas.”

Now in its second year, the Forum has been a supporter of Small Business Saturday from the beginning. To support small high street businesses on 6th December 2014, we campaigned for local councils to offer more free parking. Find out how we got on.