Lord Mayor of Belfast drives home “shop local” message to consumers as annual Independents’ Day campaign launches

The newly appointed Lord Mayor of Belfast has backed Retail NI’s annual campaign to engage the public with their local independent retailers during a launch event in Belfast city centre this week.

Retail NI, the only business organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector here took the launch of the 2018 Independents’ Day campaign to new heights at Babel Belfast, the rooftop of the locally owned Bullitt Hotel, where on her second day in office the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey pledged her support for the campaign.

“On behalf of Belfast City Council, I am delighted to support Independents’ Day, which celebrates and recognises the huge contribution that the independent retail sector makes to the city of Belfast, and to the entire local economy, in providing investment and employment while supporting local producers and the supply chain.”

Indeed, during his welcome speech, CEO of Retail NI Glyn Roberts pointed out that for every £1 spent on our local stores, suppliers and high streets, 70 pence remains in our local economy.

Glyn commented; “To complement this year’s campaign, we have carried out extensive consumer research in towns across Northern Ireland, and the results show that consumers want to shop local and keep their hard-earned money within our economy.”

“What is completely unique about Independents’ Day is our work to extend our message beyond our members and keep provenance at the forefront of our consumers’ decision making, continuing to support farmers, producers and town centres.”

The Lord Mayor also added to the benefits of not losing our local independent stores saying they help us with our unique identity; “Independents offer that little bit extra and give our city uniqueness, making it more attractive to local shoppers and tourists alike. It is vital that we do all we can to drive home the 'shop local' message to consumers.  Independent retailers really do need our support to ensure they can continue to serve our communities and to sustain the very fabric and vibrancy of our local high streets.

“I also hope Independents' Day encourages new entrepreneurs to come forward, open up new small businesses and lead the charge in regenerating our city.”

The research carried out by Perceptive Insight and commissioned by Retail NI in May 2018 revealed that 59% of shoppers mainly visit their local town centres for their food shopping, and 84% basket shop in smaller, independent stores between one and three times per week.

Independents’ Day will take place on Wednesday 04 July with various activities throughout the province – all details can be found on Retail NI’s dedicated webpage.

Partners to the initiative include Heathrow Airport, Q Radio and Translink who will be running attractive bus and rail services throughout the summer to ensure shopping and visiting our local town centres is even easier.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive said; “We’re encouraging shoppers to use public transport on Independents Day and enjoy a range of summer discount bus and train tickets for great value and convenient journeys right across Northern Ireland. Local independent retailers play a vital role in the community and in supporting our economy so we’re encouraging our passengers to buy local and enjoy that more ‘personal touch’ during their shopping experience.”

All details on this year’s campaign can be found online or by following #IndieDayNI18 on social media.




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About Retail NI & Independents’ Day

  • Retail NI (previously NIIRTA) is Northern Ireland’s only locally based retail and wholesale business organisation, which provides professional advice and gives a voice to the independent sector at the NI Assembly and Westminster.
  • 1,800 members include wholesalers, independent retailers of all kinds, suppliers and affiliated Chambers of Commerce and local Traders’ Groups.
  • Retail NI successfully lobbied for the proposed additional on-street car parking charges to be reversed, as well as leading the campaign for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme to be extended to 6,000 more small businesses and shops in Northern Ireland.
  • Glyn Roberts has been CEO of Retail NI for over 10 years
  • Membership information can be gained by contacting the Retail NI office on

028 9022 0004 or via