Spar plans to extend its lead in the convenience sector by micro-segmenting more stores and increasing its ­local and fresh food offer.

At the Spar International congress, MD Jerry Marwood said tests with micro-segmented formats had delivered positive results. "Sales are above peer group and staff turnover is down. We are already looking at a second-generation of our urban Lifestyle store format."

Own-label merchandise will also be tailored to the new store formats. Spar has already segmented own-­label products into sub-ranges and plans to relaunch 290 lines this year. It will also source more local fresh food.

International MD Gordon Campbell said Spar expected to have established 120 stores in China by 2009, with another 100 stores opening in Russia this year.

Spar is also to expand its joint sourcing in non-food.