Independent retailers partnered under the Mars Retailer Reward scheme will no longer receive agreed incentive payments backdated beyond one month if a rep is unable to visit the store to check the displays.

Previously payments could be backdated by three months, although some retailers have reported receiving longer stints of backdated payments.

The vouchers, equaling as much as round £50 per month for Gold level partners were in return for stores following the Mars planogram. Mars staff shortages in some areas meant the monthly checks by a rep were missed, though the payment was usually paid anyway at the next visit.

Despite Mars making the changes in early 2017, Maqsood Akhtar from Blackthorne News + Food, only found out about the terms changes this month, when he contacted his regional Mars rep. He had not received a store visit since January and was expecting just under £200.

He told Retail Express, “At no time have we received any written material from any rep or directly from mars. If that had been the case I would have begun to make changes to our planograms.”

When asked about the changes in conditions, a Mars spokesperson said, “We invest heavily in our Mars Retailer Reward scheme, which offers great incentives for the loyalty and hard work of our retailers.

In January 2017, we took the opportunity to simplify the scheme to ensure it was as flexible and valuable for the tens of thousands of retailers who benefit from it across the country.

"Retailers were notified of this change via written communication and our sales reps also followed up where possible, however we are sorry to hear that a small number of our members are dissatisfied and we would be happy to pick up with them directly.”

The spokesperson later clarified that the scheme simplification included the shortening of the backdated payment terms.