OPINION: What does it take to be one of the world’s best convenience retailers? – Scott Annan

Some of the most successful store owners in the UK and Ireland met in Dublin last month to discuss how to grow and protect convenience businesses in a turbulent 2022

OPINION What does it take to be one of the world’s best convenience retailers
Scott Annan is the founder of The Independent Retailer Owners Forum, a closed group of top store owners who visit the best food businesses on the planet and exchange insight and ideas

The Independent Retailer Owners Forum (IROF) met in Dublin in February to discuss, debate and review our successes and learning from the past two years of business and livelihood disruption.

The overall position for independent food retailing across Ireland is positive, with the IROF retailers thriving versus simply surviving – albeit this was the universal strategy in 2020 – and investing to hold the 2021 growth and to weather the inflation and cost increases impacting us all.

I sanity-checked my 2021 opinion pieces before the visit to see which forecasts and thinking were correct – and incorrect – and to create a ‘tick sheet’ for our store walks, huddles and the private ‘Meet the Leader’ dinner with the retailing rock star Jonathan James. More about this later.

Listening to the retailers and to our terrific forum supporters, it was clear that proprietary fresh food, customer service, retail standards, innovation and technology were the common themes.

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