Suppliers are to be asked for better terms, better margins and better promotions as part of a new initiative from AF Blakemore. The Spar wholesaler is launching the Multiple Retail Group, a buying consortium centred on its company owned stores that will try to improve terms for the whole business. Group trading director David White said the MRG would form an important part of Blakemore's strategy for defending its corner against the moves by the multiples into convenience. "Disciplined retailers are entering the market. We are facing greater competition, price differentiation and Rollbacks like Asda's ­ and suppliers are funding a lot of this activity. We need to get some of that supplier funded activity to compete." He said suppliers were willing to deliver better terms but needed to know what Spar could deliver in return. Retailers wishing to join the MRG must have good IT systems able to supply audit data and must agree to stock the group's core range and implement its deals. In return for their compliance and loyalty, retailers will receive 100% of invoiced negotiated benefits. Blakemore believes the group will sign up 600 stores over the next six months ­ which represent 60% of its business. But White warned the wholesaler would be evaluating the performance of retailers and those that failed to meet its criteria would be kicked out ­ "as we can't afford to jeopardise the scheme for all". - Blakemore's retail director Elwyn Davies announced a new pricing policy for its Spar retailers. He said some prices were too high particularly in impulse. "From July we shall have a new retail pricing policy, either manufacturer recommended price or close to." {{NEWS }}