Alfred Jones made a £768k loss before it was absorbed by other Spar operators.

The retailer said the market presented an “increasingly bleak outlook for smaller independent retailers” and competition from the “German discounters” when it filed a £768k profit loss on retail sales for the period ending 24 April 2016.

Alfred Jones ceased trading in March last year after Spar retailers Blakemore Retail, Lawrence Hunt and James Hall bought up five, two and four sites respectively and a further three were closed.

Before the closure, the firm had undergone considerable downsizing to 23 stores after selling 33 sites to One Stop in 2013.

In accounts filed at Companies House, the group said: “Throughout the period the convenience store market has remained very competitive. The major supermarkets such as J Sainsbury and Tesco are well established as convenience store operators.

“Industry data suggests sales are growing at their slowest pace for a decade as shoppers cut back on food spending and have also switched to the German discounters Aldi and Lidl, whose intention is to double in size over the next decade.

“The fuel market has also been exceptionally volatile as the main supermarkets continue with their policy of selling fuel at low margins in a bid to attract customers to their stores. Fuel prices have fallen significantly and during the period we saw sales of a litre of petrol and diesel at £1 for the first time in ten years.”

The accounts state that Alfred Jones has disposed of all remaining stores, settled lease commitments for stores trading at a loss and has settled its debts.

Owner Jonathan Jones has retired and the company will now concentrate solely on managing its freehold and leasehold property portfolio.