The countdown to this year’s Independents’ Day began this week, four months before the event is set to take place.

The early launch date comes after last year’s event - aimed at promoting Britain’s independent retail sector - was deemed a failure by 71% of shopkeepers polled in a survey for The Grocer. Eleven per cent were not even aware of it.

In the run-up to the second Independents’ Day, on 4 July, shopkeepers are being asked to team up with fellow retailers and town centre management teams to organise special activities for the event.

Throughout the day, shoppers will be encouraged to buy at least one item from their local independent shop in a bid to help breathe life back into the independent sector.

“We want to encourage independent retailers to get behind this campaign and ensure they are ready,” said campaign manager Gillian Cowan from organiser Skillsmart Retail.

Skillsmart has teamed up with the National Skills Academy and a number of trade associations, including the British Independent Retailers Association, for the event.