As we head towards another busy Christmas period, it’s time to reflect on the past year and try to make sense of what 2018 will bring to our ever-surprising business sector.

Electric vehicles (EV) have certainly made all the headlines this year and undoubtedly they will have a role to play in the future propulsion of the population around the country. However, despite all the bad press of diesel vehicles worldwide, I’m still not convinced that it’s time for me, personally or professionally, to be involved with an EV.

Of greater concern though are the changes afoot within the convenience sector. With trading and growth so strong over the past few years, it was inevitable that the big boys would want in. Now we have the biggest boy of all firmly nestled in front of the fire. Bank managers and business in general loves stability. With Tesco at the helm it is easy to see an improved bottom line for the smaller brands trading beneath it... but then this is Tesco we’re talking about.

We also have Nisa falling under Co-op ownership and the devastating news of Palmer and Harvey going into administration. A game changer for the industry, especially the smaller stores less able to find alternative supply.

Parkfoot has come a long way since the days of its oil company shop. We have recently committed the next five years to Spar supply, which in turn has just celebrated 60 years in the UK. We are trying to emulate some of the multiples’ great services by offering a Click and Collect service next year, maybe even delivering locally too.

Car washing is still a key part of our offer, but again this has changed. Our wash centre now only offers jet washing from four new bays. Hot water and underfloor heating make this a better experience with the added benefit of a Carwash App to offer better value and convenience. Next year we will introduce a valeting service, allowing customers time to shop while their car is cleaned for them. The major oil companies have all launched apps for fuel purchase, a fascinating prospect, and I’m sure we will see a shift in how our customers use our locations. The next year will be an exciting one, I just hope it’s for all the right reasons.