It has been an interesting year for confectionery. The recall of key Cadbury lines due to possible salmonella contamination dented consumer confidence in chocolate, a factor compounded by the hottest summer for years. Chocolate sales were suppressed, with products taken off altogether in outlets with no air conditioning. In spite of this though, Spar's confectionery sales continue to outperform the market.

Cadbury's Creme Egg bar was the most impactful launch, turning a favourite Easter confectionery into a product that can be eaten virtually all year.

The best-executed promotional activity was Masterfoods' 'Believe' campaign in the run-up to the World Cup. This generated huge interest and also drove up sales of Mars bars in Spar.

Although a long-established brand, Galaxy continues to surge. I'm not convinced about the long term future of Galaxy Promises but all other Galaxy brands are showing good growth in Spar.

There is a growing trend towards premium chocolate brands such as Lindt and Green & Black's. However, this is from a very small base within Spar. The vast majority of sales still come from the mainstream suppliers, with core impulse bars continuing to make a huge contribution.

I would like to see more innovation in the category, although I fully understand that launching products is very expensive and carries high risk. This is why we are seeing range extensions of existing successful brands rather than totally new products.