The ACS Summit is now confirmed as one of the key days in the convenience retailing calendar, and this year's event was as enjoyable as ever.

In keeping with the positive mood, Co-op food retail chief Tim Hurrell was in a good humour, despite a recent leak to the press about recently acquired Somerfield stores performing below expectations.

Now, I'm not in a position to be categorical about this, but I'm fairly confident that everyone who has recently taken over a Somerfield store is finding weekly sales are running below the level they were before the sell-off. What does that tell us? That new strategies are failing? That Somerfield was a better operator than previously thought? Or maybe, just maybe, that sales figures were being inflated by promotions in the months running up to the sell-off.

Where once there were Somerfields, there are now Co-ops, Haldanes and Eurospars, and that's got to be a good thing from the point of view of diversity.

Hurrell didn't look too worried at the Summit, and neither did independent retailer Conrad Davies, who has taken on two former Somerfields to run as huge Eurospar stores in North Wales. It's the best thing he's ever done, he says, and he wants more. And that's the most revealing answer of all.