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Should you shop local on Black Friday?

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Written by: Emma Lunn
19/11/2021
A new website aims to boost the reach and collective power of smaller high street retailers, enabling them to sell their products to customers nationwide rather than just in their owns towns and cities.

ShopAppy and ShopLocalOnline.org are urging consumers to shop local and, if they can’t visit shops in person, to use the new platform to do their shopping to help small businesses survive a bleak winter

The shopping platform says it is dedicated to helping small high street retailers around the country fight back against the global giants of retail and provide customers with more ethical and environmentally friendly choices when they shop.

The new platform, set up by ShopAppy founder and Government High Streets Task Force expert, Dr Jackie Mulligan, goes live at a time when small high street retailers are being squeezed by the removal of all government coronavirus support, runaway inflation and increased costs due to supply chain issues.

The launch also coincides with a report from the Office for National Statistics showing that, of all businesses not permanently stopped trading, 6% reported in mid-November they have low or no confidence they will survive the next three months, compared to 4% reported in early October 2021.

ShopLocalOnline enables people to buy products online from more than 4,000 small independent retailers in more than 100 towns and cities around the UK.

The platform is encouraging all local retailers to sign up and will charge them nothing — no set-up fees and no commission. It launches at a time when more customers than ever are seeking alternatives to online giants and the often fake, over-hyped deals of Black Friday.

Dr Jackie Mulligan, founder of ShopLocalOnline.org, said: “This Christmas, it’s more important than ever that Brits avoid being sucked into the Black Friday hype and shop local or they are putting the future of the UK high street at risk. Every time you purchase anything through ShopLocalOnline.org you are supporting a small independent retailer and a local community rather than blasting another billionaire into space.

“Shopping locally and nationally also significantly reduces your carbon footprint compared to shopping with the online giants, where products are often imported from the other side of the world. So wherever possible, we’re urging people to forget Black Friday and make this one a Green Friday.

“And while October’s retail sales data showed footfall is slowly starting to return to the high street, based on our daily conversations with small retailers in over 100 UK towns and cities, it’s still brutal out there. After pandemic restrictions made last Christmas a bleak one for bricks and mortar stores, the next four to five weeks will be make or break time for many smaller retailers, with around one in ten saying to us they may not survive if festive sales are weak.”

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