True, the stocking of the brand leader in each product group is a good starting point but, as Unilever admits, people are loyal to particular brands and even the smallest planogram should have reflected this. The toiletries category is high value and profitable. Even in the smallest stores, independents should be encouraged to devote more shelf space and a wider range.

Quinn’s fruit alcohol drinks is an interesting launch that should benefit from TV, cinema and countrywide tastings. At a time when government is considering increasing duty levels, this mature approach to alcoholic RTDs is one to watch. Diageo has great expectations, too, for its pre-mixed spirit-based Classic Mix range. These products might take away all the fun of mixing drinks at home, aren’t exactly innovative and are quite pricey, but we are stocking them.

It’s the dreaded year end stock-take this weekend. A physical count of everything in the warehouse reveals more clearly just how good (or bad) our buyers and stock control systems are, than any column of figures on a spread sheet could ever do. Just don’t assign me the freezer room again like last year.

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