Thousands of retailers throughout the country have joined forces for this year’s Independents’ Day.

Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have teamed up with UK store owners to encourage the public to buy at least one item from an independent retailer today (Wednesday July 4).

Independent retailers will also be holding events over the course of the day, such as high street parties, shop-front barbecues, market stalls and entertainment, to further encourage customers into their stores.

Skillsmart Retail chief executive Anne Seaman called for everyone to support independent retailers. “This Independents’ Day we encourage everybody in the UK to buy at least one thing from an independent and celebrate their local retailers.”

According to the UK Data Company, there are 171,495 independent retail businesses throughout the country with the Opening and Closures Report 2012 revealing that the number of independents grew by 2.4% last year.

Recent research from the National Skills Academy for Retail also showed that 51% of shoppers believed they got a higher level of customer service from an independent store while 42% choose to shop locally to boost businesses.

Alpesh and Bimal Patel of Londis in Finsbury Park, London showed their spirit by getting involved in Independents’ Day. “It’s so good to see schemes like this, because it makes us remember that we aren’t being forgotten and that there are other people fighting for us,” said Bimal.

The store’s Independents’ Day proceedings were kicked off by Hornsey & Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone. She praised independent retailers for their work in the community. 

“Independent retailers like Alpesh and Bimal have to face a lot of battles, so Independents’ Day is a great way to encourage the public to support their local shop,” she said. “It’s shopkeepers like them who really care about their community and without them, our high streets would be all the poorer.”

Retailers can follow Independents’ Day on Twitter: @Retail_IndieDay or Facebook: