How do you expect business to be in 2010 compared with 2009?

Andrew: Over the past few years the better stores are surviving, while smaller stores not performing are falling by the wayside. I expect this to continue.

Dan: This year will be a good one, but it will be survival of the fittest.

Chris: It will be as hard, if not harder, than the last.

David: I think it'll be tougher all competitors will be sharpening up their act.

What targets have you set for your business this year?

Andrew: We always set sales goals at 8%. We didn't quite get there last year, but we're hoping to do it this year.

Dan: We're going to be re-merchandising. We'll be ruthless about what's staying and what's going. I'm operating on a strategy of profit per square inch.

Chris: I want to enhance the store aesthetically and make the operation more efficient.

David: I'd like to continue to look at business costs. In one of my stores I've managed to get a power bill down from £3,000 to £2,000, so I'll be looking to see what I can do with the others.

Do you have any personal targets for 2010?

Andrew: We're on the verge of opening a new store so I'll be making sure that goes to plan.

Dan: I want to try to step back from some of the front-end duties so that I can pay more attention to back office work.

Chris: I want to be more aware of the opportunities around me.

David: I want to stay ahead of the game, and look for a new site.

What did you learn most from last year and how do you hope to put it into practice?

Andrew: We'll be using feedback from Eurospar audits to take the store forward. There are going to be checklists for every task.

Dan: We've had fierce competition from Waitrose, so we've recognised the need to play to our strengths and work hard on customer service.

Chris: Last year I was really encouraged by the support we got from our customers and how positively they reacted when we got things right. That will spur me on with making changes.

David: The most important thing I learnt was the banks' lack of credit. I'll be very aware of cashflow this year.

What new equipment will you invest in?

Andrew: We're getting a second coffee machine. As a forecourt, we're open 24/7 and customers don't want to wait around when our machine is going through a cleaning cycle, or if it breaks. With two machines, we can offer 100% availability. We're getting another ATM for similar reasons.

Dan: We're looking to purchase a new epos system. We also need extra refrigeration for food to go and chilled ready meals.

Chris: There have been huge advances in till technology and we need to look at what's available. We may increase our chilled capacity, too.

David: I'll look at our store on Canvey Island to see if we can adopt any of the same concepts that we've used in Maylandsea.

Besides equipment, what else will you spend money on?

Andrew: We always spend a lot on staff training. We have a private training specialist who visits every week.

Dan: I'm still looking to invest in customer service courses.

Chris: It'll be spent on making sure the shop is redecorated where necessary.

David: We'll be training and re-training staff.

Which categories will you expand this year?

Andrew: As well as hot drinks, we'll be expanding our fresh produce range.

Dan: I want to focus on chilled and find some new suppliers to develop our local foods offering.

Chris: We want to enhance fresh and ambient. Non-food and alcohol will also be looked at.

David: Chilled continues to be a huge market. Also, following the demise of First Quench, I'll be looking at our off-licence lines.

Which categories will you decrease?

Andrew: We might cut back on frozen food as we're seeing a decline in sales.

Dan: We won't necessarily reduce our off-licence, but we'll streamline it. We might cut back a little on canned groceries.

Chris: We'll reduce the number of soft drinks in ambient and move them to the chillers and do the same with vegetables.

David: We over-face on paper goods; they could be better controlled. Confectionery is another area that needs attention. I also want a better range of pre-packed meats.

What advice would you give to your fellow retailers?

Andrew: Work hard to raise store standards and be better than the store down the street.

Dan: Concentrate on your core business and streamline it. It's easy to cut back staffing hours and do more yourself, but it's no good being a busy fool you need to work smart.

Chris: We can't compete with the mults on price, so let's strive to get everything else right.

David: Keep an eye on all your costs monitor everything and re-negotiate where possible.