Indie champion Alan Toft is set to continue campaigning on behalf of retailers after being appointed as a special adviser for the National Federation of Retail Newsagents' DrinksLink initiative.

DrinksLink sets out to provide the NFRN's 8,000 members that sell alcohol with information, best practice advice and promotions to drive more profit out of the booze category. The NFRN is understood to have developed the initiative with Booker, its preferred wholesaler.

One industry insider told The Grocer the scheme resembled the now-defunct Take Home Blueprint the Federation of Wholesale Distributors ran.

Toft launched the FWD project in 1994 when he was director general, but it was scrapped last November following a six-month review by the FWD. It is understood the scheme was no longer attracting enough financial support from suppliers.

However, Toft maintained that suppliers would get behind the new project. "The supplier community will recognise the strategic urgency underpinning the DrinksLink initiative and its appeal to thousands of independents," he said. "The drinks market is huge and complex so helping NFRN members to stock brands the consumer wants to buy is vital."

NFRN marketing and business development manager Graeme Collins praised Toft's commitment to helping independent retailers.

"He brings to us the respect of suppliers across all drinks categories who know he will help to boost drinks turnover for our membership," he said.

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