AF Blakemore this week warned suppliers to give Spar retailers the same prices as multiples or risk supermarkets taking control of the convenience sector.

In a rousing speech at the Spar Retail Show, Blakemore Distribution MD Dennis Evans said wholesalers such as Blakemore were "the true partners of suppliers" as they treated them fairly and helped grow sales. But he admitted that with prices 20% above the mults, they struggled to compete.

He criticised the mults for promoting own label at the expense of brands, which he said were being "ripped off by the retail equivalent of Knock-off Nigel".

"Going to Asda House must be like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas," he said. "Are the multiples really your friend?"

He insisted that though Spar had just relaunched its own label, it wasn't in competition with brands.