Speaking at a trade show in Exeter, marketing director John Hart said: "Too many stores close their hot food at 3pm. You are isolating a huge chunk of your customer base that wants to buy a meal but doesn't have the confidence to do so. The food to go market will continue to expand and you must rise to this challenge."
Meanwhile, Hart said an aggressive recruitment drive at the BWG-owned company attracted 30 new stores this year.
More than 60% of stores were up to the Spar Millennium standard, and wholesale sales for the calendar year 2003 were on course to top £145m, a 10.7% increase on 2002 figures.