The past year hasn’t quite been apocalyptic, but at times it has felt like it. Beth Phillips looks at how the UK’s Top 50 independent retailers have fared – and finds variety discounters and small supermarkets leading the way

Arctic weather conditions brought more misery last month, but they were great news for many of Britain’s independent grocery retailers.

As roads became impassable and pavements were transformed into skating rinks, shoppers turned to their local stores for groceries, boosting sales by as much as 80% in some cases.

But after the thaw, there is little evidence to suggest consumers stuck to their local store.

And in these apocalyptic times, with the mighty multiples fighting a vicious (albeit supplier-led) price war against the backdrop of a deep recession, the question is: just how resilient is the independent sector?