CTNs and off-licences are "doomed", Spar boss Jerry Marwood has claimed.

In an explosive interview with The Grocer, Marwood said stores that were too specialised would struggle to survive as convenience shopping moved into larger stores selling more groceries and fresh food.

"One-trick ponies don't stand a chance. The history of retailing is to sell more different products in the same store. CTNs are doomed. Off-licences, unless they have a real point of difference to the mults, are doomed too."

Marwood revealed Spar had increased its sales to retailers by 6.6% in the year to April, although exact figures were yet to be finalised.

Spar's average store size had been "growing for some time now" to ensure shoppers visited Spar stores more regularly and supermarkets less often, he added. But Spar retailers needed to stock more products for top-up shopping and, in particular, for "tonight's tea".

"Most people spend £4 or £5 with us but £90 or £100 in the majors," he said. "We do very well on food-to-go but two areas where we have to build credibility is in top-up and the meal for tonight."

Spar was already upping its game, he said. Sales of fresh meat were up 8% and salads and dips increased by 28% in the past year.

Alcohol was also an opportunity for Spar stores, particularly following the demise of First Quench Retailing in October. However, Marwood added that Spar off-sales had been in growth for years and that c-stores had contributed more to the collapse of FQR than the multiples.

Marwood said he was more concerned with helping Spar retailers sell a greater range of products than competing on sites with its nearest rival, Premier, which is threatening to overtake Spar in store numbers.

"Our store numbers might only be marginally ahead but the cash our retailers take at the till is the real driver. If Premier were overtaking us on volume, then I'd be quite upset."

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If anyone can, Jerry can (26 June 2010)