Sir; Manufacturers can provide solutions for retailers to combat the issues which face the convenience sector, as highlighted in the Neighbourhood Retailing 2000 report. Retailers know their audience but they do not always know key information about product lines, new brands, pricing and display. Such information is the lifeblood of marketing departments of manufacturers but it is not always passed on to retailers. Information on fast selling lines, buying triggers, which products are in decline and how to arrange fixtures to improve impulse purchase, forthcoming advertising campaigns and training staff on how to sell goods enables independent outlets to maximise sales. In addition field sales teams can save retailers time and money by offering deals that are not readily available from wholesalers. Simple initiatives such as providing mixed cases makes stocking systems more effective. However, the process of manufacturers working with retailers has to be structured as a partnership. Sales teams that try to take "ownership" of stores or which call randomly do not instil the confidence or continuity necessary to make a difference. The future of the independent sector depends on the commitment of FMCG manufacturers to work together with retailers to ensure that both parties operate at their maximum potential. Mike Garnham Managing director Headcount Worldwide Field Marketing Chertsey Surrey {{LETTERS }}