41 (42) Jeroboams

Sales:£20.5m (+4%) 

Pre-tax profits:£339k (+46%)

Stores:6 (-14%)

Despite ongoing challenges within the sector, this wine and spirits merchant - founded in 1985 and owned by chairman Peter Rich - boosted profits by growing sales and closing one of its seven London-based outlets. Jeroboams also rolled out a new website in October last year.


42 (45) M&O Trading

Sales:£20m (+5%)

Pre-tax profits:£151k (-63%)

Stores:44 (-2%)

Trading under its own Mulberrys, The Offie and Hartley’s brands, Sussex off-licence chain M&O - owned by MD Sue Todman - closed some underperforming stores last year following rapid expansion. However, it also opened a flagship Hartley’s store in Brighton and is eyeing new outlets in Surrey.


43 (43) Winemark

Sales:£19.1m (-3%)

Pre-tax profits:£468k (-73%)

Stores:77 (+3%)

Northern Irish off-licence chain Winemark - owned by the Hunt family - opened two new stores, but profits fell 73% in the year to December 2013. This year the retailer lopped an impressive £250,000 off its £1.6m electricity bill after switching all its in-store lighting to LED.


44 (46) Tanners Wines

Sales:£18.8m (+7%)

Pre-tax profits:£360k (N/A)

Stores:5 (0%)

After a tough 2013, Shropshire-based Tanners, a fourth-generation family-owned wine merchant, returned to profit in 2014 thanks to an upturn in the economy. With six stores, Tanners is eyeing new store opportunities following a pilot tasting concept, launched in Shrewsbury in 2014.


45 (44) Stans Superstore

Sales:£18.5m (-4%)

Pre-tax profits:N/A

Stores:2 (0%)

Oswestry-based Stans started life when former POW Stan Faulks returned from WW2 to open a fish and chip shop. That chippy morphed into a 27,000 sq ft Nisa supermarket. Now third-generation run - and with a second store - Stans is battling increasing competition in the area by working with 80 local suppliers.


46 (47) J&J Wilson

Sales:£17.7m (+5%)

Pre-tax profits:£229k (+13%)

Sales:71 (0%)

Holiday park c-store operator J&J Wilson switched from Costcutter to Nisa in June 2012 and last year extended its contract until 2019. Founded in Scotland 40 years ago but now based in Norfolk, the retailer attributes its 5% boost in sales and 13% profit hike to Nisa, claiming it’s given it greater purchasing power.


47 (NEW) High Noon 

high noon

Sales: £17m(+145%)

Pre-tax profits: N/A(N/A)

Stores: 12 (+140%)

Founded five years ago, forecourt/c-store operator High Noon hit the headlines in June 2013 after it claimed to be selling the cheapest petrol in the country. It also won The Grocer’s Independent Retail Chain of the Year in 2014. The chain is 77% owned by management, with private equity holding the remaining 23% stake. It now has 12 stores (the latest opening last week). Plus it has eight in development. In any event it is the fastest-growing independent in the Top 50, and plans to keep going in 2015: MD Gordon Miller already has “multiple sites targeted for acquisition” and says the age of austerity offers plenty of “opportunity to seek and secure new sites. New builds, closed pubs, retiring retailers and struggling businesses are all examples of where the opportunities lie.” Not that it is getting carried away, identifying numerous challenges that lie ahead, including the ongoing squeezed economic climate and the continuing encroachment by supermarkets into convenience.


48 (NEW) Hunnyhill

Sales:£15m (+25%)

Pre-tax profits:N/A (N/A)

Stores:13 (8%)

Another new entry, this Isle of Wight-based Spar operator is a family-owned business. Formed in 2000, it has 13 stores and director John Perrett says Hunnyhill is planning further acquisitions in 2015. It also wants to add several post offices to its existing estate to boost footfall.


49 (NEW) Paul Stone Group

Sales:£14.1m (+7%)

Pre-tax profits:N/A (N/A)

Stores:4 (0%)

Family-owned Paul Stone Group operates four Spar c-stores in Manchester city centre, with a fifth due to open next month on Princess Street. The chain, which has been around since 1973, also plans to continue developing its Cheeky Coffee Co offer this year, and has an off-site fresh sandwich-making facility.


50 (50) Proudfoot Group


Sales:£14m (+4%)

Pre-tax profits:£301k (-51%)

Stores:4 (0%)

Proudfoot Group has been staunchly independent since 1946, when founder Wilf Proudfoot opened the chain’s first store in Seamer using £300 from his RAF gratuity. Now run by his sons and joint MDs Mark and Ian Proudfoot, the retailer has four stores in the Scarborough area.

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