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‘UK’s big brands must give small shops more support’ – BRITAIN’S biggest wholesalers…

BRITAIN’S biggest wholesalers are calling on manufacturers to give more support to the independent sector.

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It comes as the downturn is driving consumers away from the big superstores and into smaller c-stores.

James Bielby, chief executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which represents the UK’s biggest wholesalers, told Asian Trader: “With sales static in the big grocers, top FMCG brand suppliers should turn their attention to the wholesale channel and the one million small businesses it supplies and supports.

“Local shopping, smaller but more frequent spend and recent concerns over the provenance of supermarket ready meals mean there is real scope for growth in this diverse and adaptable channel.

“We believe that top brands have an opportunity to increase the visibility of their products through smaller businesses.

“Instead of concentrating their efforts and resources on five or six highly-competitive, low margin supermarkets, they could be front and centre on the shelves and menus of a million convenience stores, cafes, pubs, coffee shops, snack bars, and all the other energetic, ambitious, growing businesses our members work with.”

Bielby told this magazine that Booker CEO Charles Wilson would be among those making the case for manufacturers to make further investment in the independent channel when he is a keynote speaker at the FWD’s annual conference in July.