Sir; I am not generally given to commenting upon issues through the letters page, but feel that the most recent Verdict Research on Neighbourhood Retailing paints a very gloomy view of the c-store sector. Using, as it does, an expanded view of the sector, it fails to adequately differentiate c-stores in organised groups from unaffiliated retailers. My concern is the comment about lack of competitiveness, based on what appears to be a very limited sample of stores. In Spar's case, it was one store in the Midlands and I fail to see how that can be representative of Spar's position. We have taken this matter up with Verdict who admitted to some other errors in their survey and we know that our own figures paint a totally different picture on pricing, based upon our regular checking of more than 200 stores on which we receive regular scanning reports. So come on Verdict ­ if you are going to report on the sector (and charge £1,100), do so from a more structured sample of stores. I take comfort from Verdict's view "that Spar will remain the leading symbol group in the UK and a powerful player". We are confident about our Millennium Store concept, which has shown significant growth for the 500 stores converted so far. With our plans for fresh food and food to go development, and with what we know is a more price competitive offer than Verdict suggests, we are in a position to retain our lead. Morton Middleditch Managing director Spar UK Harrow {{LETTERS }}