Independent retailers have reacted angrily to suggestions that they pocket the cash from special promotions instead of passing the savings on to customers. In a straw poll of The Grocer 4 Independents readers taken this week, all retailers said they pass on promotional benefits to shoppers, but some criticised the cash and carry trade for offering what they believed were weak promotions at prices which still make the neighbourhood store seem expensive. Most independents believe manufacturers are terrified of the major multiples and think even the biggest suppliers subsidise superstore discounts by giving C&Cs a raw deal then expecting small store operators to slash their margins. Margaret Noble, proprietor of a general store in Stroud, Gloucestershire, said C&C promotions were generally poor and claimed they were not comparable to consumer offers at the superstore. She added: "Most C&Cs have let the small retailer down badly. My local C&C is Booker and I simply couldn't afford to obtain all my requirements from that source. "I believe that Booker's prices in Gloucester are higher than in some of its major conurbation branches, but I still have to compete with the multiples like any other independent." Noble said she buys as much as she can direct from manufacturers and added: "When they want a cash deal they know where to come, but many manufacturers want our business only when it suits them." Nisa retailer Brian Hutchinson, from Easingwold, near York, said he passes on all special offers, although he believed some independents did not. He added: "Nisa promotions are very strong, with bogof specials well featured among the hundred or more offers in each promotional period." Hutchinson said Nisa's buying muscle enabled him to be very competitive with the multiples, although he thought some manufacturers' recommended prices were between 1% and 2% lower than they should be. Dean Holborn runs a CTN and general store in Redhill, Surrey. He passes on special offers whenever possible, but claimed margins on some offers were too tight. He said: "We get most of our stock from Palmer & Harvey McLane and support the wholesaler's promotions. However, some confectionery manufacturers expect us to work on ridiculously low margins and we can't do it. "We are members of Winerite's Retailer Club and receive excellent alcohol promotions, which we always pass on to the shopper." Holborn said his cigarette sales were prolific, but return very low margins, so he must get a better return on the rest of his stock. He was another who believed that recommended prices, particularly those from confectionery manufacturers, were far too low. {{GROCER CLUB }}