A packed audience at Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ annual dinner at the Savoy last night, heard chairman Rodney Hunt call for keener prices from suppliers in an effort to fight the corner of independent retailers.

Hunt, managing director of the Today’s Group, said wholesalers were initiating record levels of “creative marketing and promotional activity” to focus on the needs of shoppers who use independent retailers.

But he stressed that manufacturers must not “run away with the idea that creative marketing takes priority over level playing field prices”.

The FWD would also persist with its submission to the OFT for a moratorium on further acquisitions by the multiples into the independent sector. “New rules are needed to meet new threats to fair trading which are emerging in theform of superstore satellites in our local streets,” Hunt said.

Hunt noted that he agreed with the view of Big Food Group chief executive, Bill Grimsey, that in 10 years’ time consumers would have two choices - to either use a local Tesco Express or a Tesco superstore on the edge of town.

“We will tenaciously persist with our lobby which calls for safeguards for the shopping choice of our children and grand children,” Hunt told the audience.

In January, FWD launch its campaign ‘My Shop Your Shop’ designed to raise the profile of local, independently owned shops to consumers.

The initiative is backied by Booker, CostCo, Parfett’s, Bestway, Blakemore, Today’s and Landmark, and would culminate on April 27 - designated as National Independents’ Day.