Wholesalers are urging independent retailers to capitalise on Easter Sunday when their larger supermarket rivals will be closed.

Stores over 3,000 sq ft are not allowed to open in England and Wales on Easter Sunday, leaving independent retailers free to operate during the second-busiest trading period of the year after Christmas.

Independents should make the most of the opportunity by ensuring that their store was clean and tidy, that availability was high and that extra stocks of bread, milk and Easter confectionery were available, wholesalers said.

"Smaller stores can capitalise on Easter Sunday," said Raj Krishan, retail controller at Landmark Wholesale. "If consumers need a last-minute purchase on Easter Sunday the independent store is the place to fulfil this requirement, so retailers need to ensure they are prepared."

Spar UK has created a PoS Easter kit for its retailers with the strapline 'Eggs, sweets, treats... Easter Sorted' containing hanging panels, posters, lollipop cards and wobblers. Alongside national promotional activities, Spar's six wholesalers will also run local activities through radio, press and leaflets.

Musgrave Retail Partners GB, which owns the Budgens and Londis franchises, has also put plans in place to ensure its retailers will be supported by strong availability and promotions. "Our Budgens and Londis sales teams will be working closely with retailers to support them with advice around stockholding and availability of key lines, especially impulse," a spokeswoman added.

Bestway said it would be encouraging all Best-one retailers to prove they could give excellent service.

Easter Sunday trading would give independents the chance to mitigate the impact of the multiples' aggressive Easter egg promotions. One independent said he would be cutting back on his egg range because he could not compete against the multiples' deals, while another said he would concentrate on selling boxed chocolates to avoid wastage.