George Osborne’s announcement this week that the government is cutting welfare by £25bn was a reminder that hard times are here to stay. His gloomy new year message spoke of “big, underlying problems” that need fixing in our economy during a “year of hard truths”.

On the one hand, the government is in the same boat as every independent retailer: having to make tough decisions, cut costs and improve efficiencies.

On the other, hitting the poorest in the pocket with income support and benefits cuts could mean less money in tills.

However, our industry is working hard to not just survive, but thrive and RN readers are ahead of the curve.

Londis retailers told Musgrave its own label range was too expensive and a rival to Booker’s Euro Shopper was needed to appeal to cash-strapped shoppers. Londis responded, and RN readers tell us a range of low-cost, pricemark-heavy goods are currently being trialled. We’ve also spoken to five wholesalers this week about their top-selling own label lines and what they think will be flying off shelves in 2014.

In the 24 January issue, meanwhile, RN is looking at how suppliers are allowing value-conscious customers to continue to invest in big brands with the development of smaller-format products.

This week’s profiled retailer Raj Kaur says she gives customers great value – and fights off a rival Tesco – by hunting out great deals and extending symbol group promotions beyond their end date.

Only 2014 will show what Mr Osborne’s cuts will mean for your business, but rising to the challenge is key to minimising their impact on your profits.