Promote what sells ­ not what doesn't! Independent retailers could be losing customer footfall by promoting the wrong lines and some of the blame must lie with the UK's cash and carry wholesalers. While a number of C&C trade press advertisements have offered retailers attractive deals on cigarettes, soft drinks, beer and confectionery, too many ads cover second rate grocery lines that are no longer the domain of the neighbourhood retailer. While grocery is still important to many rural retailers who don't have multiple superstores on their doorstep, it is bread, milk, cigarettes, soft drinks, confectionery and newspapers which are the daily demand lines. Although independent retailers shouldn't be advertising how expensive they are ­ if indeed they are expensive ­ recent research from Harris International Marketing shows that most shoppers have little idea what price they expect to pay for any product, irrespective of whether it's a KVI (Known Value Item) or otherwise. Shoppers are now attracted to the major multiples by the prospect of a handful of Reward points, cheap fuel, and the fact they can get everything ­ well, almost everything ­ under one roof. Independents must promote the products that sell and not the ones that gather dust. That philosophy prompted us to compare milk and bread prices ­ not necessarily promotional prices ­ at a selection of stores. Last week, a Family Choice store at Southend-on-Sea, Essex was selling a Happy Shopper 800g loaf price marked at 32p, but saying very little about it. A Dillons c-store at Chingford, north-east London, had Mothers Pride at 62p and Hovis white at 72p. An Alldays store further along the road offered Sunblest at 75p and Kingsmill Gold at 92p. In Tesco at Woodford Green, Essex, Kingsmill Gold was 69p, standard own label 35p and Tesco Value 23p. Milk at the Family Choice outlet was £1.10 (2 litre) and 58p (1 litre). Alldays' price was £1.35 (4 pint) and 79p (2 pint), while Dillons was charging £1.15 (2 litre) and 69p (1 litre). The Tesco price was 89p (4 pint) and 55p (2 pint). Mace retailer Bruce Hayward from Leiston, Suffolk, had milk (2 pint) at 78p and Mace own label bread price marked at 42p. However, he was dismissive of promotions saying: "I've tried special offers but they don't work. If Mace didn't price mark its bread I would charge more for it." Shoppers, as HIM research shows, are confused by the conglomeration of prices, so there is no need to promote everything the C&C throws at you. Strategic selling is the keynote. Statistics from planned displays show that big sellers, when given the prime positions and extra facings, become even bigger sellers. {{MISCELLANEOUS }}