Hancocks Cash & Carry has blasted top confectionery brands for not giving independent retailers prices that will let them compete with the multiples this Christmas.

Hancocks has sourced a range of lesser-known brands it claims give retailers better value and margins than household names. It claims sales in the run-up to Christmas are up 28% over the same period last year as a result.

"The latest price wars on branded tins and Christmas tubes show why the independent market remains frustrated with the big brands and why the big manufacturers must give smaller retailers some of the survival tools they need in order to compete effectively," said Hancocks senior buyer Jonathan Summerley. "It's a shame the big boys cannot truly provide for this at key times of the year."

While Summerley said big names would remain a vital part of Hancocks' offer, he appealed to them to offer indies sharper prices and exclusive products.

The bestselling alternative lines that Hancocks had sourced included Liquorice Allsorts, Rumballs and chocolate coins, many of which sell for under "the magical £1 price point", he added.

"This side of our business has experienced growth beyond our expectations as retailers proactively beef up their range, giving space to own-label and value, when this might previously have been reserved for the big brands," he explained.