Independent retailers up and down the country are celebrating Independents’ Day 2012 today (4 July).

The event, which has been organised by Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail, aims to raise awareness of the important contribution indies make to high streets, local communities and the UK economy.

The UK has 171,495 independent retail businesses, according to the latest figures.

Activities planned include street parties, barbecues, market stalls, street entertainment, product showcases, match-any-offer deals and discounts.

“We are delighted to lead this campaign to raise awareness of both the challenges smaller retailers face and also their importance both locally and nationally,” said Anne Seaman, chief executive of Skillsmart Retail.

“This Independents’ Day we encourage everybody in the UK to buy at least one thing from an independent and celebrate their local retailers.”