The Association of Convenience Stores is making its programme of local business development forums as accessible as possible for independent retailers. ACS retail services manager Miles Harvey said the new programme of meetings would be held locally and in the evening so more retailers could attend. The ACS is expecting 50 retailers at the first session in Cranford, Middlesex, which will tackle store and sales development, followed by a buffet. It also plans to advertise at C&Cs to attract retailers who are not members of the ACS to future sessions held locally. The free forums, it says, are an added value service for existing members. Harvey said: "ACS is determined to grow the membership of acsdirect and provide some tangible benefits for independents, but we realise that it is these same independent retailers who are least able to leave their stores to attend the usual round of c-sector events." The first forum is at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Bath Road, Cranford, on Thursday, from 6.30pm to 10pm. {{NEWS }}