Symbol groups say they are helping retailers combat additional financial pressures following chancellor Philip Hammond’s National Living Wage increase announcement.

From April 2017 the wage will rise from £7.20 to £7.50, potentially increasing salary costs by hundreds of pounds each year for retailers.

Kash Khera, managing director of Simply Fresh, said: “The living wage increase during 2016 impacted on staff hours and potential business investment.

“Simply Fresh retailers constantly receive advice and regular reviews are already in place to weed out slower-selling lines and to look at profitability, focusing on trends such as in food to go and fresh.”

He added all Simply Fresh retailers have access to an online ‘toolkit’ which provides the latest merchandising advice, social media workshops, advice on maintaining store standards and online training modules.

Meanwhile, Booker said its ‘Save More and Make More’ scheme, which runs across all four of its symbol brands – Budgens, Family Shopper, Londis and Premier – focuses on increasing profitability for its businesses. It added Budgens has removed all charges, Londis has removed membership fees and Family Shopper is trialling loyalty schemes.