Spar has changed its whole approach to category management for independent retailers as a result of its Essential Range project carried out last year (The Grocer, October 2, page 14). The project was launched in June to identify and remedy gaps in the distribution of key cereal and off-licence brands to independents. It has spent the past months deciding whether to roll out the results and, after a review period, has now taken the project a step further and will be developing planograms across all categories for independent retailers. Trading director Keith Webb said: "We asked ourselves Why are so many stores not stocking key lines? "We found the fundamental problem was the lack of concise category planning information for independents." "The answer was a workable category space plan which was less complicated than the ones provided by suppliers." Spar started rolling out the modified programme in January and the feedback from the first few stores involved has so far been positive. But the process is ongoing and categories will be up for regular review. {{NEWS }}