The Top 50 Indies listing has a new company at number one for the first time since its launch in 2006.

An impressive run of 13 years at the top for MRH officially came to an end with the publication of this year’s Top 50 Indies listing, which put MFG at number one with an incredible 925 sites following its takeover of MRH last year.

Its site total is more than twice the size of the next group on the list – EG Group – which has 386 sites, albeit EG Group tops everyone hands down with its rapidly expanding network across the globe with 4,700 sites altogether.

The listing was revealed to a lively gathering of the biggest UK independent retailers earlier this week. Managing Director of Forecourt Trader, Lorraine Hendle and Editor Merril Boulton presented the latest report on the sector, which revealed another intriguing year with a great deal of activity, in terms of acquisitions and developments, with oil companies such as Phillips 66 and Harvest Energy also targeting Top 50 independent groups.

Highlights included the fact that while some retailers are tempted to sell up and retire, so there are plenty of aspiring entrepreneurs ready to take their place, including the founders and former indomitable management team that topped the listing for so many years as MRH – Graham Peacock and Susan Tobbell.

They have returned to the list as SGN Ltd, and a new entry into the Top 10 with 45 sites – which they describe as a “small re-entry into the retail petrol station market”.

The Top 50 Indies continues to grow – by around 130 sites in the past year – and now numbers 2,410 - up from last year’s 2,276 - and representing nearly 29% of the overall market.

“All the initiatives and investment being undertaken, show a tremendous willingness by Top 50 Indies to invest in their businesses and strive to expand, and demonstrate their confidence in the future of the sector,” said editor Merril Boulton. “As we move further into 2019, it appears that the Top 50 Indies are in very good health!”