Kishor Patel Independent retailer, Houghton Trading

Says: Retailers want to stock the bestselling brands in their stores so it is important that suppliers and retailers work together. By working with suppliers, retailers can make sure they are selling the right mix of products at the right prices in the right areas. Retailers should offer their sales data to suppliers, which assess and analyse this data and then give advice. Retailers may not be aware they have slow sales of a particular product or are allowing too much space on shelf to a particular line.

But suppliers must understand that there is more to their job than just getting products into stores. They need to be more innovative.

Independents are being increasingly asked to get involved in local community activities so suppliers should consider donating, for example, free cases of water to a store that it could then donate to a sports day or local fete.

Suppliers could also help create more theatre and events in stores by organising tasting sessions. Offering retail training centres where retailers can get advice and take away tools to work with in their stores would also be beneficial.

Shamus Lehal Londis retailer

Says: Suppliers need to do a lot more to help retailers. And they should offer the same terms to independent retailers as the supermarkets because I believe that the big supermarkets are getting better deals. Also, they should be more open and honest with their payment terms.

Suppliers should also offer smaller retailers free stock when they have a promotion or launch a new product. We are not going to try out a new product if it isn't going to catch the customer's eye. It needs to be really special and innovative because, if it's not right, customers will go back to their usual products after a few months.

Suppliers should help smaller retailers back launches with the right promotions, free stock and help with the display of products.

A number of suppliers, especially tobacco suppliers, used to be very good and visit the store regularly. However, cigarette displays are becoming increasingly restrictive and, with recent increases on cigarette duty, the government seems intent on pushing cigarettes either under-the-counter or to encourage black market trade.

Susie Ackland Masterfoods pet trade marketing manager

Says: Masterfoods has many ways in which it helps retailers maximise their profits, and a great example is provided by the petfood category, where we have launched Easy 4 You.

Easy 4 You makes selecting the right range easier by bringing together the petfood category's 19 bestselling lines in an easy-to-use fixture. It is designed to make life easier for retailers with limited shelf space and has a four-step plan:

1) Identify available space

2) Shop from Easy 4 You. This is the minimum and essential range for a half-metre fixture

3) Add other lines to the

Easy 4 You core range as needed.

4) Merchandise your petfood space with Easy 4 You as its heart, and keep it stocked up

On average, petfood shoppers only spend 80% of what they intend to in stores due to poor availability - products shoppers are looking for are either not stocked or are out of stock.

Research shows while petfood shoppers spend more than £2,000 per year in c-stores, more than 50% of shoppers will not return after being let down by availability twice.