Leading cash & carry operator AG Parfett & Sons has launched a new symbol group that it says will help its independent retailer customers compete for the next 15 years.

It has developed a new fascia, Go Local, which includes Go Local Plus and Go Local Extra fascias aimed at medium and larger-sized retailers. The symbol group is free to join and Parfetts also offers marketing support.

“Independent retailing is getting harder and harder,” said head of customer development Andy Whitworth. “We saw the need to launch a professional fascia that still retains the retailer’s independence.”

Parfetts would act as the link between retailers and suppliers and facilitate joint business plans, added Whitworth, who was appointed to the new role of head of customer development last month.

Although Parfetts is a Landmark member, Whitworth said Go Local was a different concept to Landmark’s Lifestyle Express fascia concept. “They do a lot of work up front, but leave that store to the retailer’s own devices,” he said.

Go Local specifies products to be placed on promotion throughout the year, while Go Local Extra members will receive a 2% rebate for promotions if they fully comply. The symbol group is an extension of Parfetts promotional retail club, which has 800 members and generates £20m in sales a year. Retailers can join the club without joining the fascia.

“It’s the concept of the club behind the fascia,” Whitworth said. “We’re trying to develop our retailers to survive for the next 15 years.”

Parfetts has five company-owned stores, currently operating under its Local4U fascia, which will be rebranded as Go Local Extra.

Store owner Shahid Rafiq, who trialled the fascia at his Spring Gardens store, said sales had increased by 23% in the first month.