The internet will change the way that you operate your local shop and there is little to be gained from fighting this.

A requirement for UK retailers to make their sales tax returns on line has resulted in complaints from some that they want to stay in a paper-based world. This is a mistake for any business-owner, surely. The internet and information technology is shaping the competitive world in thousands of ways.

For example, Waitrose is using IT so that it can sell its products through outlets owned by chemist chain Boots and petrol retailer Shell – the latter through self-service kiosks. Waitrose has a £40 million IT budget and it is one of the smallest UK multiples.

Derbyshire independent retailer Stuart Reddish told members of the Newsagents’ Federation at its national council meeting in Newcastle last week that as a business owner you have a responsibility to pay tax in the way that society demands. Separately, he said it was crazy to be in business and not using the internet.

Discussing my post on, he said that I should check out the prices on eBay for treat items, such as Kinder eggs. He paused, looked at me, smiled and almost immediately added that he was thinking of selling some on ebay himself.

The internet is a game changer and local retailers need to be taking part, not hoping that it will go away. It won’t.