The Independent Achievers Academy has helped stores grow sales by up to 7% and win back customers through new initiatives, retailers in this year’s Top 100 have revealed.

Retailers behind the stores named as the Top 100 UK and Ireland news and convenience stores this week shared how the IAA’s benchmarks have helped improve their businesses and drive profits and sales.

The list includes 16 stores that joined the IAA last year but didn’t make the Top 100, including Natalie Lightfoot, of Londis Solo Convenience in Glasgow.

She said: “Earlier this year we had a refit to fresh-en the store after 19 years. The IAA’s Retail Profit Guide told us what we were doing was right and acted as a sounding board. “Since then, our sales have gone up by 7%. Having those benchmarks has been important for us to improve.”

Majinder Singh, of Dunston Convenience Store in Gateshead, recently invested in his store, introducing a range of high-end products. Sales have since gone up by £10,000 a week despite an Aldi opening opposite.

“The IAA was really good and gave me ideas I’d never thought of, like drawing out my plans rather than keeping them in my head,” he said. “Now my staff can see what’s happening and they are giving me ideas too.”

Mullaco Supermarket in Dewsbury is one of several store, to make the Top 100 in its first year with the IAA.

Store manager Ashraf Mulla, said the IAA’s benchmarks have helped put customers at the centre of decision-making, resulting in the introduction of new initiatives such as a ticketing system for its butchery to prevent long queues.

“We’re more focused on our customers as a result of the IAA – the benchmarks help us think about how we make better decisions for them,” he said.

A total of 45 shops held their Top 100 position, including Broadfield Newsagent & Post Office in Crawley. Rajesh Nayi said he developed digital technology, including a loyalty scheme, after meeting other retailers at the IAA gala dinner last year, which helped him win back customers lost to a newly-opened Poundland.

See the Top 100 Stores for 2016