Londis is setting up a new operation to support retailers who are keen to improve their fresh ranges.

The four-strong team will start next week, working with retailers to identify the most suitable fresh range for their stores, as well as giving advice on merchandising and promotional execution.

Sales director Paul Courtney said Londis would consider offering retailers financial support for wastage on a case-by-case basis.

But he warned retailers they would need to understand that wastage was a “necessary evil” of fresh food.

“Not having wastage means lost sales,” he said. “You may throw away one bag of apples but sell 11 - cutting the order too fine means not having availability.”

Londis would benefit from the insight of Musgrave stablemate Budgens, Courtney added. “We have taken those learnings plus sales data from our more successful fresh food retailers to provide range and planogram advice from the smallest to the largest cabinet.”

Fresh food sales at Londis are already up by 20% so far this year. A typical Londis store now makes 11% of its turnover from fresh food sales, compared with 5% two years ago.

In April, Londis set up four new store opening teams to help new retailers adapt to the group’s processes and offer advice on merchandising, ranges and promotions. Londis expects to recruit 200 retailers a year after creating a basic no-fees level of membership called Londis Partners.