The event, which sets out to remind the public that shopping locally on foot will not only cut carbon emissions and save them fuel costs, but also give them some healthy exercise, comes as petrol prices reach record levels and the national grocery chains clamour for a share of the community retailing market. Earlier this year IGD revealed that c-store sales grew 6.3% to £30.9bn in the previous 12 months faster than the grocery market overall as consumers used local shops to help them control spending.
James Bielby of MSYS organiser the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) said: "This is a chance for independents to draw attention to big issues including climate change and how families can control their food spend and cut petrol costs. C-stores, newsagents and rural shops should remind the local community of the real benefits they can get from ditching the car and walking to the local shop."
FWD is encouraging retailers to mark the day by offering a reward, such as a cup of tea, to customers who walk from their homes to the store. It is distributing window posters which urge passers-by to 'Think Global, Shop Local'. The poster states: "By walking to shop at this independent local store you get exercise, reduce carbon emissions and get great value for money."
An online calculator at www.myshopisyourshop.co.uk enables stores to show customers how many tonnes of CO2 emissions they can save by leaving the car at home.
The event is sponsored by Cadbury, which will be leading by example. "Our sales executives will be leaving their cars at home and visiting stores by alternative methods," said communications manager Susan Nash.
FWD estimates that at last year's event, customers at the 432 shops visited by Cadbury staff walked more than 111,000 miles, saving 19 tonnes of C02 emissions.
"We participated in both previous Walk & Shop Days as it's very important to encourage people to use their local shops. Every customer who walks here gets a cup of tea and a biscuit and we usually have some great promotions. "The awareness among customers isn't what it should be and the local and national press could do more to promote the event and the importance of using local businesses."
Ralph Patel The Look In, Woodmansterne, Surrey
"Every year we get involved in Walk & Shop Day as it's a great way to bring the community together. We always have competitions and promotions as well as a cup of tea for everyone who walks to the store." Lesley Brown Frankmarsh Stores, Barnstaple