Running through this year’s first issue of Retail Newsagent, is the theme of identifying your challenges for 2015 and tackling them early.

A challenge facing many of you, outlined in our new year preview feature, is the supermarkets’ inevitable push of their small store formats. However, customers’ fragmented shopping habits, intensified by the growing popularity of the discounters, means there is plenty of opportunity to take advantage. Retail analyst Neil Saunders says focus on the things the grocers get wrong – good service, a personalised shopping experience, speed and convenience – rather than purely on price where you will struggle to win.

All the retailers we spoke to for Your Say this week say their focus this year will be on making their store a destination by creating a point of difference.

The tobacco display ban is another key trend in our preview feature and the experts advise acting now to ensure a smooth transition for the April law change. Whatever stages your preparations are at, next week’s three-months to go and 6 March’s one-month to go guides are must-reads.

Like many of you, I am excited about the year ahead and see opportunities to prosper and grow

In his mid-term interview, NFRN national president Martyn Brown lays out his strong views on the news industry’s failings in 2014 and where it must improve to survive. However, also this week we speak to new Press Distribution Forum chairman Simon Gage on his plans for the role and how he will be working with Martyn and the federation this year.

Like many of you, I am excited about the year ahead and see opportunities to prosper and grow. But action is needed for change and, as the old saying goes, you can’t expect to keep doing the same thing and see different results.