OPINION: Low prices and fair margins are all retailers want – James Bielby, chief executive, FWD

'We heard stories of falling footfall, even to the extent where items that would normally be sold well before their use-by dates were having to be thrown away'

Sliding chiller doors supermarket aisle and trolley

Talking to retailers in an east-London cash and carry last week gave the FWD team an illustration of just how tough things are for independent convenience stores at the moment. 

Everyone we spoke to mentioned the impact of energy bills on their business, with some retailers saying they had risen by as much as 400%. 

Everyone was doing what they could to reduce energy use, even turning interior lights off when the sun shines, and one or two had arranged with their electricity supplier to pay in monthly instalments, rather than have a larger cash-flow hit once a quarter. 

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