The events of the early morning of January 27th when David Lewis and Charles Wilson announced that they intended to merge the two companies coloured the whole of the year.

With the Co-op gaining the approval of NISA members to buy the group and Palmer & Harvey ceasing trading the effects of this year on distribution will not be fully played out for some time. The other big challenge is of course Brexit and just what it will mean to how the food supply chain will operate.

2017 has certainly been a year when store owners have had to actively manage and plan for an unknown future. The key lessons that I have learnt about retailing in challenging times is focusing on what you can control and bottom line profit.

With the Tesco/Booker merger being approved by the Competition and Markets Authority just before Christmas it is evident that large part of the independent convenience supply chain is going to look different by the end of next year. Where there is change there is opportunity, will you be looking for change that will benefit your business?

Making the most of change requires being in control of your business and planning for its future. The wholesaler changes that are happening reminded me of a comment that NISA retailer, Harry Goraya made when he was guest editor of RN at the end of December 2011. He said:

“If you are developing a plan to make a business better, you have to understand all areas of that business. Not only will you see the issues as they arise, but you will understand what makes it great. By understanding the end user, it is easier to achieve success.”

Make writing and actioning a new business plan the priority for 2018 to ensure that you achieve the success that is waiting for you.