Tesco could overtake Spar in the £44.1bn convenience store sector next year, according to a Verdict report, putting it first in that market as it is in the supermarket sector.

The study, entitled Neighbourhood Retailing 2006, claims Tesco’s market share in the sector was 5.4% in 2005, while Spar held a 5.6% share. And it claims Tesco achieved the largest market share increase in the sector in 2005.

Verdict said Tesco boosted its sales in the convenience store market by £200m to £2.4bn in 2005. It is now in joint second place with Irish operator Musgrave.

“With Tesco’s formidable track record of growth, it is hard not to see Spar being forced to relinquish its crown during 2006,” said Verdict retail analyst Nick Gladding.

The best way independent retailers could compete would be to maximise their links with local communities and offer more services, such as cash machines and DVD rental kiosks, said Gladding.