Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore (AFB) has announced price reductions on about 100 key lines as part of an investment package worth on average more than £7,000 per store.

Stores which sign up to its terms package, the Retail Partners Programme, will also benefit from a £1,500 marketing contribution and the removal of delivery charges. In return, retailers need to make specific commitments on range, promotions and loyalty.

The terms package is now also available to Capper & Co retailers following the merger of the two wholesalers earlier this year, and could cost AFB up to £3m if all stores signed up, trading director Mike Boardman said at last week's SRS 2011 conference. Retailers who signed up for Blakemore's previous terms package outperformed non-terms retailers by 4%, he added.

Also at the event, outgoing Spar managing director Jerry Marwood urged retailers to embrace new categories and not rely on the "comfort blanket" of established categories such as tobacco. He said too many retailers were still missing out on opportunities to sell fresh produce, which accounts for only 3% of total sales in Spar stores, despite strong customer demand.

Other opportunities included food to go which now account for 10% of Spar chain Tates' total profitability, up from less than 1% in 2000 and Spar's own brand and promotions. "Part of the solution lies in selling more things we don't normally sell. Let's steal sales from the main stores," Marwood said.

Blakemore managing director Dennis Evans rounded off the event by calling for retailers to take the initiative.

"The market is tough, and if a competitor opens nearby it will be too late to do anything about it," he said. "The time for action is now."