I love this time of year. Not only is Christmas right around the corner, but with the flurry of 2023 features lists and planning meetings, strategising for the next year always fills us with a feeling of excitement and optimism.

Yes, we’re aware that costs are going up and budgets are tight. But we know that retail is robust and that some of the most creative people work in our sector. The suppliers who succeed in 2023 will be the ones that broaden their connections and delivering on what businesses need.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend Newtrade Media’s Women in Convenience event. I left feeling inspired by the tenacity and resilience of the store owners who took the stage to share their experiences but also frustrated by what I heard.

21% of female retailers do not feel comfortable attending events on their own, with 16% claiming they’d like to, but don’t because of this. 17% said they don’t even get invited. With female retailers making up a third of all store owners, this lack of representation and access to equal opportunities means that the sector is moving forward with the handbrake on. In a cost-of-living crisis, can we really afford to be alienating such a significant proportion of our potential customers?

Another issue that will rumble on into 2023 is the lack of availability, affecting manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. BetterRetailing has asked if 2022 is ‘the worst year for availability’. Let’s make sure it is. There will continue to be external factors that take products off shelves, but let’s not leave it to trade journalists to highlight it. We must communicate challenges and recommend alternatives early on. Let’s make sure we are giving constant updates to stores that need your brands to survive.

Our top stop in this month’s newsletter is the Autumn Statement. Overall, it is positive news for retailers, even if some eyebrows were raised about the rise in living wage. The freeze to the business rates multiplier is welcome relief but energy bills remain a concern for store owners. Are you able to pick any of these financial concerns and communicate rewards back to retailers in these terms?

We don’t know what the scale of the challenges will truly be in 2023. However, we do know that the proven strategy of broadening networks, acting quickly and honestly, and communicating on the issues retailers care about is fool proof. We look forward to helping you find success by doing all three.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you succeed in 2023

Five key FMCG stories this month

Talking Retail: Local shops welcome support on rates; await energy plans for business

betterRetailing: Retailers call for education to improve gender discrimination in convenience

Asian Trader: Supply of supermarkets’ own-label products may dwindle due to strike

betterRetailing: 2022 ‘the worst year for availability’? More product lines disappear as supplier delists increase

The Grocer: Why the Rustlers All-Day Breakfast Pancake Stack deserves to be New Product Awards Champion of Champions