Community, environment and innovation were the three key themes at last month’s Summit, the annual conference organised by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). Chaired by TV presenter John Stapleton, the Summit attracted its biggest audience ever with 400 delegates, including some of the industry’s key players,

retailers and suppliers.

Kicking off the conference, ACS chief executive James Lowman revealed the results of a poll which showed that 59% of people think local shops should charge for carrier bags. "The evidence is not sufficient to suggest charging for carrier bags is right for every business, but it suggests retailers should give it consideration," he said.

Simon Woodroffe, motivational speaker and entrepreneur - most famous for launching the sushi chain Yo!Sushi - said being successful was 50% about what you did in a day, and 50% about what was going on in your head. "There is a need for constant and never-ending innovation - innovation which creates a new level of performance; and innovation in places the competition can’t go," he said. He also told delegates that it was important to stick your head above the parapet and even be outrageous to get noticed.

There were many excellent presentations throughout the day, including video footage of retailers sharing their successful initiatives with the audience.

Of note from the forecourt sector were Jonathan James of James Graven & Sons, and Paul Delves, managing director of Harry Tuffins Ltd.