Speaking at a week-long series of regional meetings, Evans told 200 Spar retailers that they needed to do something different to react to the dynamic changes that are taking place in the market.

“Retailers cannot rely on a business model that does not offer real meal solutions and better choice,” he said. “The old approach with too much reliance on cigarettes and alcohol is defunct, and we need to outperform our competitors and provide a greater value perception. We should inspire our customers to try new lines, improve store standards and promote, promote, promote.”

AF Blakemore is supporting retailers with its Pounds Down initiative of additional promotional activity on key products. It aims to supply more sales and footfall drivers, provide free leaflets and door-to-door distribution, and distribute free promotional stands.

The wholesaler is also re-evaluating its pricing strategy to create better value perception of key products.

Blakemore’s directors visited more than 80 Spar stores during the roadshow, to discuss how the company can help retailers overcome local competition without affecting their profitability.