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Secure future for c-stores that invest.

SIR; While everyone has to agree that Tesco has shown the industry a clean pair of heels both over Christmas and the past 12 months, all is not doom and gloom for independents.

You reported that nearly a quarter of independents interviewed in a telephone poll were less confident about their prospects (The Grocer, January 15,p21) but also that 56% were not intending to invest in their stores during 2005. l would suggest that therein lies the rub and the real reason why Spar sales remain robust at a time when the major multiples are targeting the convenience sector as a major area for growth.

Spar figures have shown that while Christmas is no longer the boom time for c-stores that it once was, a survey of some 529 Spar stores showed performance equal to that of Waitrose and far, far better than those submitted by Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, The Big Food Group, and the hapless Sainsbury. The future remains bright for independents who are prepared to invest in their stores and change their offer to reflect better the needs of 21st century consumers.

Many independent retailers, like those in Spar, remain very positive about their long-term security in the c-sector. I would suggest that perhaps our trade media could do more to encourage such confidence, rather than forever extolling the virtues of the mighty Tesco.
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Title Annotation:Readers' letters: the issues that matter, from the people involved
Author:Marwood, Jerry
Publication:Grocer
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 29, 2005
Words:227
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