As the euro was introduced across Europe at the start of the year a straw poll taken among Grocer4Independents readers found an overwhelming majority opposed to a change of currency in the UK.
Carol Dawson, who owns The Village Stores in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, said her store served mainly older folk, who did not like change and many struggled to understand the metric system.
A more immediate European problem is smuggled tobacco. In February Grocer4Independents readers said the smuggling problem was as big as it ever was, possibly even bigger. All the retailers questioned said they knew smuggling was rife in their area. John Anderson, who runs a post office and general store in Thorpe Sowerby, Cumbria, estimated his cigarette and tobacco turnover had dropped by 40% since the smuggling racket started in earnest. He said: "It is still a massive problem and I know for a fact that many of my customers purchase cigarettes and tobacco at the doorstep."
Grocer4Independents readers unanimously backed the Association of Convenience Stores' call for fresh legislation and tougher sentencing for those who rob convenience store owners and their staff.
Ghulam Farid, a partner in the Obassi Newsagents & Convenience Store in Glasgow, agreed punishments should be much stiffer. He said: "The younger criminals think they can get away with it and don't worry about consequences."
The independent trade looked to the summer with optimism with the prospect of England in the World Cup and the Queen's Golden Jubilee set to boost sales.
Jag Bhullar runs two stores in Huddersfield, one under the Londis fascia and the other as a Premier outlet. He thought a combination of the World Cup and the Queen's Golden Jubilee would give independents a great opportunity to boost trade.
However, he doubted that too many people would be ready to sup beer as early as 7am when a lot of the early matches kicked off.
As the increase in the national minimum wage drew closer Grocer4Independents readers warned they might be forced to close if it was too high. Paul Cheesbrough, the proprietor of a Costcutter store at Minster, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, said the trade could not afford a rise like last year, when it was 11%. He added: "The burden is not only on wages. The government continues to heap unpaid work on us such as tax credits and new accounting procedures."
This autumn Grocer4Independents went on the road organising events for readers. The first roadshow in Bristol included practical business advice from Newshops chief executive Jeremy Symonds, Imperial Tobacco's UK sales division manager Geoffrey Couchman and legal expert Graham Randell.
Next up was Booker's depot at Wimbledon where Security expert Digby Ram outlined an initiative called Raid Control to help independent retailers and we ended the year at Blakemore's Walsall depot with a seminar on the Federation of Wholesale Distributors' Take Home Blueprints for alcohol.