Speaking at the annual Landmark conference, which this year took place in New York, he said: “We need to start meaningful discussions, and we need to start now, today. Tomorrow could be too late for many of our independent retailers - and the sector.”
In return, wholesalers could offer more volume, improved distribution and a more disciplined route to market, he said.
Sheikh said independent
retailers faced an uncertain future “clouded by the multiples’ onslaught into the convenience market”.
He said overheads and staffing costs, coupled with government red tape and crime, were a constant challenge to independent retailers.
This was why they needed stock consistency, margin and a competitive retail price from suppliers, he added.