A rallying call has been issued to wholesalers, retailers and suppliers to collaborate more in order to capitalise on the growing opportunities in the convenience sector.

Mark McCammond, managing director of Spar’s South West distributor Appleby Westward, said greater collaboration would help business respond better to the rapidly changing needs of today’s convenience customers.

“Spar’s success has been built on collaboration but we need to do more and that is my challenge to you all,” he told delegates at Appleby’s recent annual tradeshow in Exeter.

“The middle ground is being squeezed in British retailing today, and unless we all embrace changes in the market, an opportunity will be lost.”

Appleby has recruited 15 new stores this year and invested £2m in capital expenditure to drive incremental business, and spent a further £0.5m in reducing wholesale prices in 2013 to remain competitive, he added. Sales are up 4.2% year-on-year.

“We are growing faster than our competitors, recording 6.5% growth in the last 20 weeks alongside Spar UK’s growth of 2% in the same period,” he said.