The collapse of Palmer & Harvey on November 28 rocked the convenience sector on both a business and personal level. 

For businesses, it threw any retailer served by P&H into a state of panic, thinking about how they would keep their shelves full to ensure customers continued to receive the service they expect from their local store. 

The industry rallied around the 2,500 workers that immediately lost their jobs. It reminded us of just how fragile the market can be. Our new columnist Anish Parekh, who runs a shop in Greater Manchester, sums this feeling up perfectly.  

Despite the vastness and competitiveness of the retail and wholesale channel, it’s very much a community. In times of uncertainty, there’s a need for retailers to embrace this community and all the help it offers.

And nowhere is there a better display of community than at the Independent Achievers Academy Gala Dinner, which took place the day after the P&H news broke.

Every year for the past 12 years, the Gala Dinner has celebrated best practice and allowed retailers to network with each other to share ideas – and this year was no different. I watched as more than 150 independent retailers caught up with old friends, made new contacts and spoke to each other about their businesses and ideas for 2018.

Through Retail Express every fortnight and events like the IAA, you have access to a hugely valuable community of top-performing retailers with sales-boosting ideas.

Make sure you use it to your advantage.