New Spar managing director Debbie Robinson has challenged convenience store retailers to change shoppers’ perceptions of pricing and value within the sector.

Speaking at the IGD Convenience Retail Conference, Robinson said: “Before they even step over the threshold of a convenience store they think it’s expensive. Consumer expenditure is going to remain weak and focus will continue to be on price and value.”

Offering quality own label ranges would be crucial going forward, she added, citing the launch of Spar’s S range earlier this year. “Own-label has been a struggle, but it does allow retailers to take control of their own destiny rather than worrying about price-matching the multiples. The S range fills a key gap in the convenience sector to help deliver good value and quality.”

Robinson also stressed the opportunities that lay ahead for retailers. “With the Olympics, European Championships and Diamond Jubilee all taking place next year, if we can’t have a good time in 2012 then we have only ourselves to blame,” she said. “Retailers need to bring these events to their communities.”