Exclusive Tony Hurren The launch of another symbol group gives retailers in the south and East Anglia the opportunity to obtain their ambient, chilled and frozen requirements through Nisa-Today's central distribution. Today's wholesaler AC Ward, based in Colchester, has launched Xpress Retail Services and immediately recruited the eight retailers who last year formed Anglo Asian Traders and negotiated a supply deal with Palmer & Harvey McLane. The wholesaler has mounted a major recruitment campaign and is targeting independents with turnover exceeding £8,000 a week trading from the Isle of Wight to The Wash. The launch of the Xpress concept has the approval of Nisa-Today's, although a spokesman at the group's Scunthorpe headquarters said it was a "very sensitive issue" and was keen to point out that it was simply a trial. AC Ward clearly feels the link with Nisa-Today's is the key selling point. Retailers will get a weekly visit from a business development manager and be provided with integrated shopfitting and merchandising and a fascia service. The Nisa own label range will be made available along with merchandising material such as three-weekly promotional leaflets. Recruitment literature claims there are no hidden charges. AC Ward's business development manager James Ward said six of the AAT members are big enough to take direct drops from Scunthorpe, while the other two will be serviced out of his company's depot at Kelvedon, near Colchester. Cambridge retailer Geoff Spinks, a founder member of AAT, said: "This is a great deal for the smaller retailer. It gives us a link with the UK's largest independent buying consortium. It will enable us to stock a wider range and to be more competitive." This week, Spinks sold his store at Needingworth, near St Ives, Huntingdon, to T&S Stores, but plans to extend his Cambridge c-store from 1,300 sq ft to to 2,000 sq ft and trade under the new Xpress fascia. {{NEWS }}