Julian Hunt Work has now started on a major new initiative to help independent retailers boost their trading performance by offering shoppers the right products and promotions. The initiative has been pioneered by the Landmark cash and carry buying group, and details were first revealed earlier this year at the annual conference of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (The Grocer, April 20, p13). Landmark has now signed up the 18 retailers needed to help pilot the initiative. The group comprises unaffiliated operators as well as members of Booker's Premier club, Costcutter and Londis. The retailers are trading from a variety of locations in the West Midlands ­ including rural Shropshire. Nine of the so-called Hot House stores are being remerchandised, with new ranges introduced that are expected to meet better the needs of consumers in the local area. The other nine stores will remain unchanged and act as control outlets. Underpinning the whole initiative is research into shopping habits carried out by the Glendinning consultancy. Data about the trial will come from new equipment being provided to the retailers, including a web-enabled EPoS system developed by Smartertrader, which is run by former Landmark executives Mike McGee and Ron Colley (The Grocer, July 20, p4). Some of the retailers can also order via the web from Landmark member Blakemore using LandmarkUK.com. Results of the initiative, which is being backed by 15 suppliers, will start to come through in the autumn. Landmark's new MD Martin Williams said the initiative was an important part of the group's vision for the wholesale sector. The Hot House project would show how suppliers, wholesalers and retailers could work together to mutual benefit. l See Brave New World, p32 {{NEWS }}