It is a tricky business to keep on top of what the numbers of stores belonging to each symbol group mean. At one level, it could mean that head offices are able to negotiate better deals because they have more shops taking part in promotions. At another, it could mean that more local retailers are choosing one group over another as it is delivering more to their bottom lines. It could be fashion. It could be an exercise in badging for vanity.

However, now that the IGD has updated its annual figures, Booker’s Premier symbol group has overtaken Spar UK to top the chart with a 15.9 per cent of outlet numbers versus 15.7 per cent. Bestway takes third spot with a Best-one/Best-in share of 13.8 per cent, followed by Lifestyle from Landmark at 12.9 per cent.

Londis has dropped to an 11 per cent share and Costcutter to a 9.5 per cent share. Mace has grown to a 5.3 per cent share and Nisa to a 4.8 per cent share.

Overall, there are 16,288 symbol group stores, up 2.9 per cent on the previous year. This shows both the effort that wholesalers are putting in to delivering good support packages for independent retailers and a certain vitality about the sector as a whole.