Booker has pledged to help Premier retailers “go around” the discounters, focusing on major brands, promotions and alternative footfall drivers to in-crease stores’ profits.

Martyn Parkinson, brand director for Premier, outlined a strategy that extends the company’s Mega Deal initiative, new and regular trend-based promotions, and a redesigned leaflet to help stores publicise their offers.

From this month, Mega Deals – the symbol’s major brand offers – will rise from four per cycle to six and the company has committed to raising this to eight in the near future.

In addition, every pro-motional cycle will now include three protein products and three healthier products to cater to changing demands of shoppers.

“What we don’t want to do is take on the discounters head on, product for product,” said Mr Parkinson.

“In beers and wines discounters have their own brands, in confectionery they have a limited range.

“We still think there’s a big place for brands.”

Scottish retailers will now also benefit from a range of Scotland-specific promotions to cater to the nation’s tastes.

Mr Parkinson also pointed to the example of Linda and Dennis Williams (pictured), of Premier Broadway Oxgangs, who have recently added a full food to go counter under a newly-created The Premier Deli brand, as retailers who are increasing footfall in tough conditions.

After researching stores across the UK and working with a catering development representative from the Booker-owned Makro group, the couple now offer freshly-made sandwiches, breakfast rolls and hot snacks.

A range of cakes delivered from a local bakery have already achieved £744 in weekly sales, less than five weeks after they arrived in store.

A new bean-to-cup machine now also serves 40 £1 cups per day, with regular purchasers able to access a lower 79p price which cuts the margin to 20% but rewards loyalty and encourages extra spend.

Mrs Williams said many stores in poorer communities could now succeed in categories like this which were previously confined to more affluent demographics.

“You need to persevere, expand gradually and talk to customers,” she said.

“We even created a whole series of Facebook videos about our counter.”

Mr Parkinson said that while low-priced, big-brand promotions were vital, stores serving food would attract shoppers.

“Once you’re in and you see a store like this I think people will be prepared to pay a price for it,” he said.