Cornershops get image boost with media push

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is to launch the first ever national media and lobbying campaign to highlight the value of the British local shop to its community.

The campaign, National Independents’ Day, will highlight the fact that although leading supermarket brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda dominate grocery retailing, there are around 55,000 independent retailers in the grocery and news sector that have a crucial role in the community.

FWD chairman Alan Toft said: ‘One of our missions is to market wholesalers as a brand. Our sector supplies the family-owned business and sole trader, and we are devoted to enhancing the local independent retailer in the eyes of the government and the consumer.’

Consumer PR for National Independents’ Day, which falls on 1 June, will be handled by Nexus Communications. Nexus MD Alan Twigg will provide strategic PR advice and four staff will run a national press office from 1 February.

Nexus will target the national, trade, regional and weekly press. The agency was appointed without a pitch on fees understood to exceed six figures.

Toft denied the campaign would take an adversarial stance against the encroachment of the large supermarkets on the local shop market. He said: ‘We are emphasising the “localness” of the independent – the man who closes the shop at 4pm to work as a lollipop man and sponsors his son’s local football team.’

Twigg said Nexus will be running a campaign to update the image of the corner- shop as a service-oriented business, loyal to the community but able to diversify into areas such as dry cleaning and photo-processing in order to adapt to market changes.

Lobbying will continue to be handled in-house by the FWD.

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