The Convenience Retailing Show is the biggest independent show for the sector and it keeps growing. This year’s exhibition promises unparalleled chances to build relationships and business, says Rod Addy .

More than 200 UK and overseas exhibitors and 5,000 visitors are expected to attend the Convenience Retailing Show which opens on March 14 and which has attracted more than 70 new exhibitors.
Exhibitors making their debut at the show include Bestway Cash and Carry, which broke away from buying group Landmark in November 2003, taking £1bn in sales with it.
At the show, the company will be promoting its Best One symbol group package for convenience retailers.
Somerfield will also attend the show for the first time where it will raise the curtain on its franchise scheme. Somerfield’s franchise director Norman Kears says: “Under the scheme we will be selecting professional retailers and helping them capitalise on the opportunities by using local knowledge together with our considerable retail expertise, buying power, marketing support and supply chain.”
Budgens, Key Lekkerland, Booker, Londis and Nisa-Today’s will also be drawing on their experience to woo independent retailers.
A whole host of ideas for anyone seeking to develop their stores will be on show at C-Store Central, which contains new and regular CRS features divided into four areas. Key attractions include Shop Project, which examines new merchandising ideas, and Christie & Co’s Property Advice Corner. There is also a new Ideas to Take Away area and a chance for retailers to discuss ideas they might have for their stores in an area that is called Taking Stock.
Another area will be devoted to developments in forecourt retailing and another to the ever-growing food to go sector. Cuisine de France, a newcomer to the show, will promote its new Pierre’s Hot Food to Go brand.
Visitors will also be able to sample Hazlewood Food Services’ new range of Sutherland hot toasties and