While the last six months have seen major convenience initiatives from retailers as diverse as Tesco, M&S, BP, The Co-operative Group, Budgens and TM Retail, there is a real vacuum in supplier activity. While we know the UK convenience market is worth £70bn, most suppliers seem too obsessed with Tesco and Asda to notice this. 

The stark reality of having two or three customers accounting for 90% of total sales has dawned on a few suppliers, but it has passed most by; they seem content with thinking of c-stores as little supermarkets ­ why won't they sell 24-pack toilet rolls ­ Asda does...! 

Suppliers need to get their head around a proper strategy that provides convenience retailers with a real point of difference to supermarkets ­ this will require a quality team, investment, and, above all, true innovation aimed at convenience shoppers. 

Maybe the lights will only come on when Tesco starts to ask suppliers for their recommendations for Express ­ however, for many, that may just be too late.