With costs rising and competition intensifying, it’s something of a surprise that any small store owner can find the wherewithal to invest in their business. But we all know that retail never stands still, and that a continual cycle of re-evaluation and investment is necessary to maintain position in the marketplace, let alone to take any strides forward.

Finding the funds to invest is one thing, finding the ambition is something else again. But thankfully here the industry is blessed with smart, resourceful and ambitious operators who not only provide a great range and superb shopping environment, but are also constantly looking for ways to improve.

The Convenience Retail Awards, now open for entries, was created to celebrate exactly these sort of retailers. There are awards for different types and different sizes of stores, as well as special awards for particular product categories and areas of strength. But what unites all our past winners is the sense that you always need to do the best you possibly can for your customers, and have an eye on not just present success, but the future, too.

2017 has been a momentous year for the sector (at least, in terms of announcements; most of the real change will be implemented in 2018), but all of the really good operators in the industry have continued to invest and to drive their businesses forward. We live in challenging times, but we also work in a fantastic industry with much to be proud of, and it is our pleasure to continue to celebrate it.