P&H sets target of 1,000 for symbol operations P&H McLane plans to recruit up to 250 retailers to its symbol group operations in the coming year, despite the supply glitches following last year's acquisition of Booker's delivered wholesale business. If it hits that target, P&H will have 1,000 retailers signed to either its Supershop, Your Store or Mace groups. That would be a significant milestone for a firm that went into the symbol group sector less than four years ago. At this week's ProRetail, P&H sales director for independents Bill Ellis said: "Despite the problems, we recruited 220 retailers last year and added 30 Mace retailers to our portfolio. I doubt another symbol group is growing so fast." Ellis said P&H would not be looking to recruit "symbol hoppers" from other groups but was looking for retailers with businesses to which it could add value. Most of last year's supply grumbles came from Mace retailers in England and Wales unhappy with the service they were getting. But Ellis said the company was now offering 96% or 97% availability on its range, while admitting there were still problems surrounding the Mace brand, groceries and household sundries. P&H chairman Christopher Adams said: "We will be concentrating hard in the next three months on getting service levels up to the same standard." Ellis said P&H had worked with its sales force to ensure it was working more closely with retailers, particularly on customer-driven promotional activity. He said P&H now had a team for recruiting new retailers, another for looking after existing business and a new trading team to look after the three symbol groups. {{NEWS }}