Local food, national insurance contributions, retail crime and innovation will be key issues in 2003, say top industry figures.

The Grocer’s Review of 2002 highlights the main events of last year as seen by movers and shakers such as Sainsbury boss Sir Peter Davis and NFU chief Ben Gill. It also highlights their varying predictions for next year.

Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy said 2002 had been about coping with slowdown after an exceptional 2001. “We’ve moved from a situation where everybody could do well to one where there are winners and losers.”

He said the big question was “would the consumer keep spending?” while increased NI and pension contributions would also be issues.

Walkers Snacks president Martin Glenn also forecast an increase in unemployment due to the extra NI contributions.

“There will also be higher costs and flat sales triggering a big fall-out in the grocery market, and serving London will prove a real challenge as Ken’s road tax comes in.”

Spar UK MD Jerry Marwood said: “Crime will remain a huge problem for small retailers unless we can convince the government, the police and other agencies to work more closely with us.”

See the December 14 issue of The Grocer magazine for full details.