In what will be seen as a hotting-up of wholesalers’ efforts to attract retailers to their symbol groups, Today’s Group today announced it was working with the Association of Convenience stores (ACS) to offer new and existing Symbol Group retailers free ACS membership.
The agreement will provide retailers’ with complimentary membership to the ACS, an organisation that works to support independent retailers in lobbying and which provides guidance on operational and legislative matters.
One of the key initiatives of the ACS is its Assured Advice Scheme, a set of guidelines developed for c-store owners, in conjunction with Surrey County Council. The Assured Advice Scheme serves to cover the tobacco display ban and other key convenience retailing issues, including hygiene, weights and measures, product safety and more. The Today’s Group has recognised the Assured Advice Scheme as imperative for retailers in order for them to be able to implement and follow a set of guidelines which they know to be consistent in their interpretation across the country.
Today’s Group retail director John Kinney said: “Legislation can be interpreted differently across different local authorities, which can be confusing for retailers. By joining the Today’s Symbol Group not only will independent retailers receive support and guidance in terms of managing their Features > Business, they will now have the added benefit of ACS membership and access to the ACS’ Assured Advice Scheme which resolves to create consistency in how laws are defined’
He added: “We will provide free membership to all of our stores in England in order for them to benefit from this protection. The Group is supporting the ACS’s tobacco legislative guide by distributing an information pack to all of our retailers which consists of: what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of Point of Sale and merchandising, advice on staff training and a training log. This is excellent timing for our retailers with the imminent introduction of the ‘Go Dark’ legislation which comes into force 6 April 2015.
“The pack will also be made available to non-symbol stores who can benefit from the advice. Non-symbol stores are encouraged to sign up to the scheme by joining the ACS independently”, Kinney added.