When we started planning this issue last November, I thought we would be creating a space-age, mind-blowing blueprint for the local shop of the future.

Over the past nine months though, with the team having spoken to hundreds of experts and industry leaders, a different vision has become clear.

Marketing genius Paco Underhill told RN that retail will change more in the next five years than the previous 50, and this change will be driven by technology companies like Apple and Google rather than traditional retailers.

But however much the world changes, humans will always crave convenience, locality and the ability to look someone in the eye who can shape their day and make their weekend. No matter how quickly Tesco, or Amazon, can deliver your groceries, you can always get that one thing you need from your local shop right now.

I have said it many times before, but I have never been more sure that the future for local convenience stores is incredibly bright.

[pull_quote_right]I have said it many times before, but I have never been more sure that the future for local convenience stores is incredibly bright.[/pull_quote_right]

And those who adapt to the changes happening around them and thinking about what their customers want to buy this year, next year and in 10 years time will be the real winners. This applies to any business.

We have created this issue to challenge you, inspire you and help you create a vision for your future. In turn, these 132 pages are my vision for RN: its purpose, its future and the role it will play in helping you move forward. I hope you enjoy it and use it as a business tool for many years to come.

Thank you to all the people who have contributed to, advertised in or – most importantly – sat down and read RN, whether it’s this week or any of the previous 6,500 we’ve been in print.