>>costs are getting out of hand. The government must listen


One of the things that we come back to time and again in the pages of The Grocer is the way in which retailers are being burdened with ever-increasing costs - and how these are having a disproportionate impact on small and mid-sized chains.
Some things are clearly out of government hands, such as soaring utility bills and rocketing rents, for instance. But many of the problems facing retailers are, frankly, the result of poorly thought through, or poorly implemented, policies.Take the politically-motivated hikes in the National Minimum Wage we have seen recently, for instance, or the fiasco of the new - and scandalously expensive - licensing regime.
As our reports in this week’s issue show, retailer frustration has reached a tipping point. Many of those we spoke to this week are genuinely worried they will be driven out of business unless government - at both a local and national level - starts listening to what it is being told and acts accordingly.
My big concern is that even though these warnings are coming from some of the best independent chains in the country, they will fall on deaf ears. And the gloomy prophecies made by many may yet come true.

As the schools prepared to break up for summer this week, I wonder how many of the parents among you fell for the latest piece of instore merchandising magic?
That’s right - I am talking about the stands offering end-of-term gifts for teachers that seem to have popped up in many outlets. This idea of giving teachers presents is yet another cute American custom that has taken hold in the UK. And boy, is it taking hold.
Speaking as someone whose family dishes out pressies at school like it’s Christmas, I am full of admiration for the way in which retailers have not only spotted this emerging trend, but have come up with really clever ways of tapping into it. Some of the stuff on offer is frankly awful. But it just shows how good retailers can always find new ways of getting customers to spend a little bit more in their stores. Now, if only I could persuade one of them to launch a Be Nice To Editors Day...
We have hit a tipping point
neat idea - for some