James Hall & Co, the wholesaler for Spar stores in the North of England, is to spend nearly £2.7m on its products and pricing this year, with fresh food identified as the key to increasing footfall.

Retail director Peter Dodding said retailers needed to get fit for fresh by introducing change in their businesses, with the goal of increasing sales from fresh foods, promotions and offering value to customers.

"We need to take improved control of fresh foods to drive footfall and respond even better to the needs of our customers," he said. "Promotions will continue to be very important, but areas such as fresh foods, food to go, and meal solutions are also key."

New initiatives include a £2.50 Meal Deal launched this month, which will give shoppers a choice of 11 Spar-brand sandwiches, 27 crisps/snacks and 17 different 500ml drinks.

"We will be providing massive POS support to this promotion, with banners, crisp baskets, posters, clip strips and shelf edging," Dodding said.

The company's state-of-the-art distribution centre in Preston is nearing completion, and Dodding said it would "provide us, and our retailers, with the infrastructure we need for the future".