If an independent retailer is not stocking what his community wants, then he should choose another wholesaler - one who will guide him on the brands consumers want and supply them at a price that will enable the independent retailer to compete and make an adequate profit. There are wholesalers, both cash and carry and delivered, already doing this.
However, independent retailers also need help with marketing and PR, but wholesalers do not have the individual resources to promote national campaigns to support their retailers.
It is interesting how the supermarkets have responded to the Competition Commission's inquiry by trumpeting their low prices and at the same time gaining vast amounts of free advertising. In contrast, small shops have been portrayed as doomed by those lobbying on our behalf. My business is stable and is by no means doomed.
Where wholesalers can help is to give us more support similar to that supplied by the My Shop Is Your Shop campaign. This support is in its infancy and has limited resources compared with the supermarkets, but it is sending out the right message for us. The campaign shouts from the rooftops that independent retailers living in the community bring a unique value. The manager of a multiple is accountable to his bosses and shareholders.
I make my decisions, not according to a boss, but to what the customers 'in my backyard' want. I look out for the vulnerable and elderly and if one of them is 50p short in her purse when she gets to the till, I trust her to come back later with the cash. I know my customers. They are not monitored by loyalty card technology.
So, Mr Leyland, lobby for more help from wholesalers on our behalf, but campaign for marketing support. That's what we need.