T&S Stores is stepping up its promotional activity in May with an aggressive rollout of its new Wow deals in a bid to drive like for like sales during 2001. "We want to steal customers from other operators," said chairman Kevin Threlfall. Promotional deals should encourage shoppers to "rabbit warren the stores" looking for special offers rather than simply picking up the top up purchases they came in for. "Our promotional presence will be more dramatic than anything in the history of the company," said chief executive Jim McCarthy. Supported by simple PoS posters instore and leaflets delivered locally, each promotion will run for four weeks, starting in May. A new EPoS system that interfaces with T&S's central supply chain system will also provide a far more accurate picture of store stock levels, enabling the company to better manage future promotions and tackle out of stocks. Following a successful trial selling Iceland branded frozen products in four One Stop outlets, the group is talking to "a number of parties" about setting up further partnerships to sell rivals' own brands in product areas where T&S is traditionally weak, such as prepared salads and ready meals. The group is also pressing ahead with a radical overhaul of its "disappointing" ready meal offering, and working with suppliers to generate fresh ideas, new products, chillers and merchandising designed to "raise the profile of T&S as a ready meals retailer in peoples' minds". Suppliers failing to make the grade have been axed as part of a wider rationalisation programme. During 2000, SKUs have been slashed by two thirds to just under 7,000 and suppliers cut by 5%. While the rapid rollout of ATMs is driving footfall, other service initiatives have not yet taken off, admitted McCarthy. {{NEWS }}