Well, we have finally been able to enjoy some sustained hot weather and sales have been excellent. It’s a relief after seeing so many weeks of changeable weather to get some serious like-for-like growth coming back.

Our main focus at present is the impending Sainsbury’s Local opening in Hassocks shortly. Unfortunately, we are having to start consultations on potential redundancies, all the while trying to maintain our business before the competition opens its doors.

We are lucky that we can offer positions over at our new store, and some people will leave naturally, but it is not a nice task to have to engage in. I understand these are the ‘rules’ of capitalism and that competition is ‘good’, but when you are facing it, the full force of the responsibility (and risk) on your shoulders hits you. With everyone wanting to be back in the high streets, I dare say that all of us will be in this position shortly and no business will be spared the painful decisions.

On the back of intensifying competition, I find it interesting that the term ‘compliance’ is now a buzz word being used by many of the symbol groups. Being part of a ‘firmer’ model with Budgens, I am quite familiar with a more regimented model. I think that many symbols now have no choice but to embark on this road; the days of taking the best bits from your symbol and leaving the stuff you don’t like behind are disappearing fast. Like it or not, to compete with the multiples we need our symbol partners (whoever they are) to be successful, too, and that requires compliance from us.

Now, bar the odd hurricane, let’s hope the good weather continues!