from Alan Toft, DG, Federation of Wholesale Distributors

Sir; David Rae (Letters, August 9, p20) accuses wholesalers of a lack of purity if they service multiple retailers, as some do. But the fact is that the independent retailers also served by those wholesalers obtain a valuable price advantage from the wholesaler’s buying power produced by the overall volume.

Rae knows that among wholesalers and many retailers there is some cynicism caused by the presence of Tesco Express in the top leadership of ACS. To suggest Tesco Express is contributing to the fight to keep independent grocers in business gives some (not all) wholesalers reason to question the ACS agenda.Furthermore, the complexities of wholesaling produce no clear cut majority for the ban on below-cost selling proposed by the ACS.

Wholesalers want more than ACS is asking for. We say ‘enough is enough’ and giant superstores must never again be allowed to encroach on the local store sector.

We will support the concept of a superstore watchdog as proposed by Jeremy Baker, of London Metropolitan University (The Grocer, August 9, p22), and ask him to extend the concept to rein in the giants’ satellites which threaten local independents.

I did not claim that FWD “speaks for” (or represents) independents, but that it “speaks out for” – an important distinction.