gt_decWelcome to the December Grocery Trader. If you had just one sound to represent 2010, it would probably be a vuvuzela, one of those noisy horns from the World Cup Finals. 2010 was a big, noisy year all right. Big things going on besides football included record snows in normally mild Britain, airborne ash from Iceland, Blair’s book, Brown’s departure and the Coalition’s coming, followed rapidly by the Government’s Spending Review, whose punitive effects will be with us for years.

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It’s enough to make you really long for the Christmas break. To help you get in the reflective mood, in this issue we present The Grocery Trader’s Review of The Year, looking back at some of the industry stories and interviews from the last twelve months.

In these pages we also have fresh interviews with Paypoint and Ravensbourn Container Systems. Over the years, PayPoint has expanded its in-store payment schemes to include transport, financial services, mail order, publishing and school services. PayPoint also supplies self-fill ATM machines, enabling retailers to recycle their cash takings and build store turnover, with consumers spending a proportion of the cash they take out there and then in the store. Consumers can pay cash for TV licences exclusively at PayPoint agents, or use the Collect+ parcel delivery service, a joint venture between PayPoint and Yodel, through which consumers designate a store for delivery and return of mail order goods.

Ravensbourn Container Systems manufactures container products for storing, handling and distributing goods in the bread, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables processing businesses. A growing part of Ravensbourn’s business these days is tailored solutions for individual customers.

As our Review of The Year makes clear, whatever happens in the wider world, the grocery industry gets on with the job of meeting consumer needs – and even deep snow can’t stop the deliveries getting through for long. Light hearted or serious, the stories here represent the wide span of subjects The Grocery Trader covers throughout the year, in print and digital format and on our website, reflecting the multiple grocery industry’s many facets.

Looking forward to January, VAT is going up to 20%. What will the impact of that be? Who knows! And then, once that’s sunk in, will the ongoing spending cuts in the public sector drag down everything from food sales to house prices? Again, no one knows for sure, but what we do know is that the UK’s multiple grocers will still be there in 2011, offering the same superb service.

But before that of course, it’s Christmas. We hope everyone reading this will get the opportunity to relax with family and friends and have a break from business over the festive season. Merry Christmas to all of you, and see you next year.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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