Spar retailer Alfred Jones has posted a pre-tax loss of £2.1m - but said it is in a “better and stronger position” this year.

The loss, for the year to 28 April 2013, was against profits of £14,000 the year before. The retailer blamed tough competition and an “exceptionally volatile” fuel market. Sales also fell, by 5% to £98.7m.

However, the accounts also revealed it made “in excess of £7m” from the sale of 47 of its 68 stores after its year end. It sold 33 stores to One Stop, five to Blakemore Retail, two to Lawrence Hunt and four to G&E Murgatroyd. The remaining three were closed. The sell-off was part of a strategic review to identify stores that “did not meet our future aspirations”.

“Since the sale of these stores, we have been very focused on restructuring the company for the future,” the company said. “Despite the economic downturn, our business is in a better and stronger position and we will continue to develop our 21 Spar stores and provide the highest quality service to our customers in 2014.”

It also insisted it was “still committed” to convenience retailing and was currently planning a strategy for the remaining stores in its estate.