Retailer Raaj Chandarana has revealed how the Independent Achievers Academy boosted sales at his shop by £2,000 a week in six months at no cost.

The 2014 Academy, which is run by Retail Express publisher Newtrade, was launched earlier this month and is the UK’s top learning and development project for independent news and convenience retailers.

Speaking at the launch, Premier retailer Chandarana said: “I caught the bug at the Independent Retail Show and I was inspired to visit retailers like former IAA winners Roli Ranger and Rav Garcha.

“The Academy has made the difference between me being a shopkeeper and a businessman. Working with suppliers, other retailers and the IAA, I have grown sales by £2,000 a week in the past six months without spending a penny.”

A key part of the IAA is the Academy in Action visits in which the 12 category sponsors share their ideas on how to better serve consumers in store with selected Academy retailers. The sponsors this year are Booker, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Heineken, Imperial, JTI, Mondelez, News UK, PepsiCo, Post Office, Procter & Gamble, Red Bull and Wrigley.

“The Academy is a great channel for ideas,” said Newtrade’s managing director Nick Shanagher.

“We have some brilliant companies that work with us to share ideas that will help retailers better serve customers and grow their sales and profits.

“We want to challenge as many independent retailers as possible to task themselves to improve. The market opportunity is out there.”

To join the Academy or receive your free copy of the 12 Steps to Bigger Profits workbook, click here.

*See our coverage of the 2014 IAA launch on p16 of today’s copy of Retail Express.