The My Shop is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign is promising to make it easier for independent retailers to organise neighbourhood events that demonstrate the strong ties between local stores and their communities.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) initiative will again centre around National Independents' Week (May 31-June 6), but FWD chief executive James Bielby is encouraging independents to take advantage of the concept over a longer period.

"This has been a fantastic scheme and has helped independents focus on their strengths, but we want to widen it to help them interact with the community all year round," he said. "We will be producing a book of ideas which will raise a store's profile in the community as well as increase sales, and we'll be encouraging everyone to take part, during NIW or throughout the rest of the year.

"Whether they engage in the whole week or one or two events a year, we want to help stores assert themselves in the community and emphasise the role they play."

Two of last year's successful events will again take place. June 2 will be National Cuppa Day, where stores offer customers a cup of tea and a biscuit, and Walk and Shop Day, which emphasises the physical, environmental and economic advantages of leaving the car at home and walking to the local store, will take place on September 2.

However, one of the campaign's iconic images will not be returning this year.

"We're pensioning off the famous yellow T-Shirt," Bielby told Convenience Store. "We're working on a MSYS shirt which store workers will want to wear all year round."

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