Wholesale group leaders have pledged to do more to help retailers improve their category management after a HIM survey revealed that 50% didn't follow planograms and only 50% surveyed knew what the top sellers in core ranges were.

Speaking at the HIM Wholesale Awards, industry chiefs said that better communication between retailers and wholesalers was required if messages about the benefits of effective category management were to be heard.

Today's Group managing director Bill Laird said that looking for alternative ways to communicate with busy retailers could be key. "Perhaps we're not delivering information in the right way. A staggering number of retailers don't regularly use computers, but will have the most up-to-date smartphone, so maybe we need to reach them that way," he added.

Bestway retail development manager James Hall also conceded that category advice needed to be more flexible in order to meet local market trends.

"No one plan fits every store so there needs to be a solution to help tailor them," he added.

Federation of Wholesale Distributors chief executive James Bielby added that wholesalers would need to help retailers more than ever this year. "The role of the wholesaler is to help store owners and the next year will be tough with incomes and margins squeezed, so both wholesalers and retailers will have to work harder," he said.

Of those that didn't follow planograms, 78% said it was because they didn't think it was right for their store, while 22% said they didn't agree with them.