The majority, 63%, said they were more confident about business prospects than they were one year ago, while 25% said their confidence was the same and 17% said they were less confident.
One said there were significant opportunities ahead.
But another wholesaler cautioned: “The sector remains intensely competitive and is unlikely to show any real growth in non-tobacco business, with volume declines in both tobacco and phonecards.” However, the panel respondents were unanimous in the need to invest in their businesses, although responses varied.
One leading wholesaler said “yes, but cautiously” and another said: “The trading climate is tough but we believe we need to invest to stay ahead.”
Others intended to invest in retailing and one wanted to invest heavily in people, systems and property. More than half intended to expand their premises, with several intending to build new ones.
Personnel recruitment was also set to rise to staff the new space as well as enhance the services at existing premises.