David Glennon's insight into the convenience sector at the Federation of Wholesale Distri­butors conference ('C-stores leave their big box rivals in the shade'), is indicative of the importance brands are placing on these outlets as a marketing channel.

Field marketing activity is normally seen as the preserve of the big multiples. However, with high-profile moves in the sector, such as The Co-operative Group's takeover of Somerfield, Tesco opening a new local store seemingly every week and Sainsbury's and Waitrose showing increasing commitment to convenience, marketers are seeing a growing strength in the consumer proposition in this area.

It demonstrates that store standards in key markers such as quality, range and value for money are all improving dramatically.

Given the huge buying power of the major multiples, brands are increasingly seeing convenience as an attractive market opportunity. Brands such as Red Bull are taking the sector seriously, to great effect.

For retailers, getting high-profile brands to stage field marketing activity in their shops boosts sales and establishes them on the map for further activity. With so much marketing activity being focused at the point of purchase, shop floor space is increasingly being seen as a valuable media channel and a potential source of additional revenue for the retailer.

By engaging with brands through field marketing campaigns, convenience stores are in a better position to capitalise on this potential income stream.

David Norbury, chief executive, REL