The Association of Convenience Stores has warned that the multiples will put on an unusually large number of promotions this Christmas, but claimed local stores could still turn the festive season to their advantage by playing on their strengths.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said supermarkets would put on more loss-leading deals than normal, particularly on alcohol, which would be “a key battleground”. “When supermarkets go below cost it’s almost impossible for independents to follow, and Christmas will be particularly tough on alcohol,” he said. “But independents can compete on being local and having more relevant pack sizes and lines and providing a great service.”

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors PR Action Group’s ‘My Shop is Your Shop’ campaign has come up with a 20-point plan to help c-stores compete with the multiples at Christmas. Suggestions include giving out mince pies, inviting schoolchildren to sing carols outside the shop, organising a design-a-Christmas-card competition for local schools and funding toys or gifts for local hospital children’s wards.