Nisa-Today's says a new agreement with government-funded training council Skillsmart Retail could deliver better productivity and profits for retailers and wholesalers.

The two parties have agreed to collaborate on developing skills and qualifications for staff within Nisa-Today's membership.

"Well-trained staff are an absolute must," said Nisa-Today's chief executive Neil Turton. "One of the major advantages independents have over the multiples is their ability to provide a personal shopping offer to their customers and qualified staff is a major stepping stone in achieving this."

Meanwhile Booker has introduced a new training scheme for retailers in its Premier symbol called Retail Plus. The courses include Retail Skills NVQ, Customer Service NVQ and Health & Safety in the ­Workplace.