It's not only in the multiple sector where compliance is a hot topic of debate. Communication and implementation are even more of a challenge in independent stores ­ particularly when it comes to getting them to pass on promotional benefits to their shoppers. Kevin Hunt, md of Lawrence Hunt and Co, owns a chain of Spar stores and says it's the single store operators who are often the problem. "There are cases where Mr and Mrs Independent decide not to do it for whatever reason. They just throw it in the bin or ignore it. "The weakness is still with the one store operator." He says he complies with Spar promotions and projects, but will also undertake independent projects with manufacturers. However he's only interested in the top tier suppliers because he wants the bestselling lines. Hunt also points out that not everything is applicable to every trader. "It's helpful for me to talk to the manufacturers as they're helping me do my job. But every shop is different and it's not always practical." He adds that information can also be misleading. "Spar might say that if a plan is implemented we'll get sales uplift of 20-30%, but that's probably based on an ill-disciplined store, so for us it wouldn't be that high." Spar's most disciplined stores have been tackling the issue of compliance through the symbol group's Multiple Retailer Group where it makes guarantees to suppliers in exchange for better prices. Retail director Steve Blackmore says: "It works on a two strike basis, if retailers don't comply they're out." {{COVER FEATURE }}