Palmer & Harvey is launching a club to help small retailers who feel “disenfranchised” by the channel’s relentless focus on convenience.

The Retail Club, which has been in development for 18 months, could lead to an additional £3.5k of profit for CTN retailers, according to P&H chief Martyn Ward.

Aimed at the estimated 40,000 CTN stores in the UK, the scheme is a "magnificent lifeline" for a sector that has had "little or no support for too long", says Ward.

400 stores are expected to join the scheme by the end of the year

The wholesaler has joined forces with a number of leading suppliers across the core CTN categories of convenience, tobacco, news, soft drinks and snacking

"All of the support on offer has tried to drive small retailers towards convenience," said Ward. "But there is a huge opportunity for local stores to be very successful in key categories like tobacco and news."

Almost 70 stores have already signed up to the scheme following successful trials in Haydock, Merseyside, that number is expected to reach 400 by the end of 2014.

"We are offering support for retailers that can't or won't join a symbol group, and those that through no fault of their own are given little support by suppliers," said Ward. "Typically supplier sales forces cover the top end of the independent retail sector. This scheme is for those that drop below the radar.”

The scheme is free to join and will give retailers exclusive discounts and promotions, free consumer leaflets and category management advice on news and magazines. To qualify retailers will need to order 40 outers of non-tobacco products per week from Palmer and Harvey.