Data from the Centre for Retail Research shows that 11,000 independent retailers ceased trading in 2022. Conversely, revenue from the independents in St Johns Shopping Centre contributes 30% of the centre’s total annual revenue.  

Large retail brands continue to benefit from brand awareness and familiarity; however, consumers are also seeing the positives of shopping local and independent, which means changes in spending habits with independents increasing their share of the market.  

The last three years have been challenging for retailers of all sizes – from the Covid-19 pandemic causing supply chain disruptions to the cost-of-living crisis impacting on rising inflation – multiple global factors have led to ongoing market instabilities. 

But St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool is defying this bleak trend – attributing the success of its independents to consumer behaviours, as well as strong uptake of digital payment services such as Klarna. 

Neil Ashcroft, Centre Director at St Johns Shopping Centre:

“We have a long-established community of independent retailers here and, although the retail sector continues to face challenges, many of our most successful stores are small businesses,”

“I think there are multiple reasons for this. Firstly, a general trend of consumers becoming more conscientious about how and where they spend their money and wanting to support local businesses and communities. 

“Secondly, there’s the ability for independent stores to react quickly – be that with fashion trends, an understanding of the local economy or recognising changing consumer habits. This can be seen with many independents embracing digital payment methods now, offering their customers choice about how and when they part with their money. It’s about offering flexibility and in the current market, that makes a huge difference to our shoppers.” 

According to research from retail marketplace, Faire, 73% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop at an independent retailer if it incorporates at least one type of digital service, and 48% of independent retailers said that embracing technology had increased their revenue. 

Miskyra, an independent fashion brand based in St Johns, has seen steady growth over the last 12 months, which its owner puts down to the rise of alternative payment methods and reduced competition from high-street brands.  

Ritik Suri, owner of Miskyra, said:

“It’s encouraging to see these changes taking effect in such a positive way. We are always looking at how we can make the shopping process simpler for our customers, and having alternative, digital payment methods has proved very popular. 

“We’re very appreciative of the continued support from our customers, old and new, and we will keep working to bring the latest fashion to Liverpool in the most accessible ways possible.” 

In a report for Drapers on the state of independent fashion retail in 2023, Emma Finamore notes that many independents see “the closure of other businesses – both chains and indies – as a chance to gain new customers”, as well as the “growing trend to shop local.” 

While some well-known high-street giants closing the doors to some of their stores, the shop local trend appears to be motivating consumers to support their local independents more than ever. 

Faire highlights that almost 30% of consumers feel responsible for supporting independent retailers during challenging economic times, with 40% of consumers having purchased in-store from an independent retailer in the last year.