Like for like sales at Bells Stores soared into double digits in April and May as the company stepped up its promotional activity, said commercial director Richard Collins. Heavy promotional activity on grocery items such as Patak's new ethnic dips and snacks was a key part of the group's current strategy of trying to reduce its dependence on cigarettes and alcohol, which still accounted for a huge 47% of sales in the 26 weeks to April 2001. "We have to drive fresh and chilled to get a bigger slice of the grocery cake after years of under-investment in the category," said Collins. "We need competitive prices, better availability and new products." {{NEWS }}