Independent retailers have been urged to investigate new areas of business where they can earn high margins by Costco UK trading director Francis Ball. He highlighted a number of products where cash and carries offer savings of more than 50% on major multiples prices, allowing independent retailers to beat the multiples on price and still make a healthy profit. The margins on greeting cards are "mouthwatering", according to Ball, and he urged retailers to also look at batteries and film. He also pointed to the boom in home computers, 95% of which are linked up to printers, and said: "There is not a retailer in the UK who should not be stocking copier paper." Ball gave details of Costco's expansion plans in the UK. The US company, which has 350 depots worldwide, a turnover of $31bn and profits of $630m, has 11 depots operating in the UK, with two due to open next year, two more in planning and 15 in negotiation. The depots operate closed membership with trade sales running at 69%. He said the company achieved the lowest prices by keeping a strict limit of 3,800 products on sale. {{NEWS }}