Despite increased competition from the Tesco/T&S and Co-operative Group/Alldays deals and the multiples' fierce bidding war for Safeway, independent retailers are optimistic about the year ahead.
In a poll of The Grocer's Top 50 independent retailers, over two-thirds said that they expected sales this year to be better than last year against 30% who said they did not expect an increase.
The same amount, 70%, expect to add more stores. Some 90% plan to increase investment in their businesses over the next 12 months.
Of those that are less confident about the year ahead, planned new store openings from the multiples topped the reasons why.
"A tough and challenging year ahead," said the owner of one Top 50 chain.
The outlook for staff, however, is not quite so positive.
Half of those questioned through our Reader Panel do not have specific plans to increase staff numbers, with reductions in numbers likely in some businesses.

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