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Spitalfields Market aims to bring back ""the art of banter

PUBLISHED: 16:00 19 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:15 05 October 2010

IN a bid to fight back at the dominance of superstores, Spitalfields Market is launching an initiative that will see the industry s ancient arts of flash and banter reintroduced, bringing back the very techniques that were born hundreds of years ago.

IN a bid to fight back at the dominance of superstores, Spitalfields Market is launching an initiative that will see the industry's ancient arts of 'flash' and 'banter' reintroduced, bringing back the very techniques that were born hundreds of years ago.

Banter, a market trader's light-hearted verbal interaction with customers, and flash, the visual presentation of the market stall are both ways in which a trader can make themselves stand out from their fellow stallholders.

Now Spitalfields Market boss Malcolm Ball is launching a competition among his stall holders with a top prize of £1,000 for the stall with the best flash and banter.

Mr Ball said: "Gone are the days when market traders can just stand there motionless and merely react to their customers.

"There's so much competition on the high street, let alone inside the market hall, that market traders now need to up their game and take a much more proactive approach in attracting new customers.

"Although it's widely known in our industry that markets can offer shoppers saving on their shopping bills, we do need to convey this message out to consumers.

"The challenge is all about presentation and attitude and that's where flash and banter comes in."

Mr Ball visited markets throughout the UK, including the famous Bury Market, as well as Quincy Market in Boston and Pike Place in Seattle, USA.

He said: "There, they take the concept of flash and banter to a whole new level and this has actually made the market a tourist destination in its own right. I'd like to see what could only be described as 'retail theatre' become much more prominent throughout Britain.

Traders will have to submit a video of their flash and banter and the top stalls will be voted for by customers and a panel of judges. Entry closes on July 31 and the winners will be announced in September.

Shoppers will be given a loyalty card when making a purchase from a participating trader and have the chance to be entered into a £250 prize draw.


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