Cash and carry and delivered wholesalers are feeling the impact of the credit crunch. The Big Four, the frighteningly burgeoning Co-op and smart smaller operators such as Lidl are riding the punches with their buying power and marketing spend. But it’s at moments such as these when the wholesaler has sleepless nights. And it’s at moments like these when the wholesaler with an ear to the ground wins.

It was once fashionable to suggest that wholesalers reported good profitability only at the expense of their retailer customers. This is, and always has been, piffle. Independent retailers need stable wholesalers making good profits. These arise when the wholesaler is efficient, flexible and responsive to customer needs. It’s simple – wholesaling is a not a complex art.

In the current climate, there will be a knee-jerk temptation to reduce stocks and, consequentially, availability. Delivered wholesalers might impose higher minimum deliveries. Both are so 90s, and short term. You are not in the price-slashing market. But you are in the value-for-money arena – so ask wholesalers for value offers to suit your micro-marketing plan. You will be wrong if you do not pass the savings on to your customers.

One flexible cash and carry is now (quietly) offering – at cut prices – job lots left unsold in depot from previous big brand promotions. Grab them. Pass them on. Your window bills should tell your community that you know what’s going on.