EDITOR’S COMMENT David Shrimpton


EDITOR’S COMMENT David Shrimpton

Last week, I took a call from a retailer who told me he had finally had enough and was giving up on retailing after 35 years in the trade. His reasons were manifold: hassle with his news wholesaler, bootleggers undercutting him with illicit cigarettes, the difficulty of implementing new tobacco regulations due in May… And who can blame him? Take a look through this week’s news section and it seems the sector is subject to a constant onslaught of regulations and obligations. Stores in Scotland face the burden of a deposit return scheme on drinks containers; living wage rises and rates increases are putting the brake on investment, and “ shockingly “ the level of violence and abuse against retailers asking for age verification stands at almost 6,000 incidents a day. But that’s not the whole picture. I also had the good fortune last week to attend the Retail’s Best networking event held near Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire, along with some 200 forecourt and convenience retailers. Operators in the breakout session on food-to-go shared their stories and ideas on innovations they were introducing to boost sales: freshly made sandwiches, meal deals, bean-to-cup coffee machines, partnerships with local suppliers. Despite the day-to-day headaches they face, independent retailers for the most part remain an incredibly resilient and upbeat bunch, always looking for inspiration and willing to come together for the good of the sector. They also have seemingly endless reserves of energy with which to tackle not only the everyday tasks but also to launch new projects “ and bounce back when, inevitably, some of these don’t work out. Keep calm and carry on is only the half of it.

David Shrimpton

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