Steve Fox, retail sales director at the wholesaler Booker, has put down a marker for what he thinks is important for local shops to focus on in 2010. This week, just as City analysts were fretting over a higher than expected rise in retail prices, Booker has announced a deal to keep the price of bread and milk low until the end of September.

“Bread and milk are the two most important products [for] convenience stores,” says Mr Fox. “By guaranteeing the price to September, we are giving our customers the confidence that they will be able to offer their shoppers consistent pricing that helps them to compete with the multiples.”

Consistency is an important word. As a local retailer you need to be able to promise your shoppers that they will always find good value in your shop. As footfall driving categories, you need to have good prices on bread and milk to set the tone for your overall offering.

The independent sector needs strong pricing support like this. Think about how everyday low pricing could work in your shop: it does not have to be on every product, but could a price promise on bread and milk increase the number of shoppers who return to your shop? And if they come back, what else could you sell them?