The partnerships and products retailers rely on from suppliers are so important that convenience stores simply wouldn’t exist without them. So, which supplier has been most important to your store this year? 

Coca-Cola European Partners

Thanks to the sugar levy, this was a year when independent retailers needed soft drinks suppliers to step up and help them, and Coca-Cola certainly took its
role seriously in this regard. A whole range of new arrivals to its core range gave consumers an extra reason to pick something out of the fridge, while investment in store communications further helped to ease retailers’ concerns.

Did you know?

In an era in which environmental issues are a genuine concern for consumers, Coca‑Cola’s bottles are now 100% recyclable. 

Imperial Tobacco

You find out who your friends really are during tough times and when one RN reader saw their sales rocked after the heavy snow earlier this year, it was their Imperial rep who sat down, looked at the data and their pricing, and worked out a strategy with them for gaining back sales. Sales are now up 1.6% year on year – just one of many stories of Imperial retailers outperforming a declining market. ​​​​​​​

Did you know?

Like many tobacco companies, Imperial says it’s focusing on helping smokers looking to switch to less harmful products. 


One retailer this year told RN’s sister title Retail Express other suppliers should learn from Ferrero’s collaboration with independents. Anish Parekh hailed its field sales team and loves the price of its small Kinder chocolate bars (RRP: 25p). But there are other standout achievements – regaining Thornton’s premium status and the arrival of the B-Ready breakfast bar and sharing bags of Kinder Bueno Minis.

Did you know?

Ferrero is still a family-owned business, run from a headquarters in Alba, north-east Italy. Boss Giovanni Ferrero is worth £16.1bn.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Despite the heritage of its key brands, including Lucozade and Ribena, LRS remains a new company navigating a cut-throat market. This makes the leadership role it took during the implementation of the sugar tax all the more remarkable. New products have arrived while existing products have seen investment to ensure retailers’ soft drinks sales are as strong as possible post-regulation.  

Did you know?

Britain fell for the taste of blackcurrants during the Second World War when their cultivation was encouraged to maintain vitamin C intake. 


The seamless way in which the confectionery brands Cadbury, Green & Black’s and Bassetts work together to meet the seasons and offer retailers a compelling way to boost sales gets stronger each year. On top of this, online and field sales operators mean stores have a point to go to with any query. Retailers may think that Christmas will be the end of it, but come 1 January 2019, Creme Egg season officially begins.

Did you know?

Next year sees the arrival of the Oreo-flavoured Creme Egg – a product that launched to rave reviews in Canada last Easter.