On the day shoppers are being urged to buy something from an independent store in recognition of Independents' Day, the British Retail Consortium says high streets can thrive only if they include multiples too.
Organiser Skillsmart Retail is working with local retailers across the country to promote today's event, which, it says is "about championing diversity on the high street and recognising the skills behind the shop front".
To publicise the importance of patronising independent stores, retailers have been able to download Independents' Day posters and other materials for their windows, and been encouraged to get coverage of the initiative in their local media.
The BRC, however, has tempered its support for the day, saying it is wrong to believe that independents can prosper only at the expense of the multiples.
An environment where retailers of all types can succeed is what is really needed, it argues, with revival hinging on addressing fundamental issues such as long-term under-investment and soaring business rates.
It points out that the latest increase in rates added an extra £350m to retailers' tax bills when shoppers are cutting back on spending.
"The big issues determining the fate of retailers of all types are about rising costs at a time of weak consumer demand," stated BRC director general Stephen Robertson.
He said it was good to spend a day celebrating independent retail but "the best shopping locations offer a mix of recognisable big names combined with original and independent stores which give towns their individuality. It's a mistake to think one part of the sector can only succeed at the expense of the other - some of today's independents will go on to be the multiples of tomorrow."
He added that successful high streets were vital to local communities and economies. "We continue to campaign for action to support them and all the retailers trading in them. That means keeping business rates and rents affordable and investing to make each town centre an attractive place to visit which is safe, welcoming and accessible."
* Read more about Independents' Day in DIY Week's July 13 issue