Spar has recorded an increase in sales during the crucial Christmas trading period as its focus on availability and fresh categories bore fruit.

The c-store operator posted a 2.6% uplift in like-for-likes in the four weeks to December 29.

During the week ending December 29, same-store sales jumped 7%.

The festive season is generally a time when shoppers trade up to more premium products and retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, but Spar UK boss Louise Hoste said its figures were evidence that “convenience is still key for shoppers at Christmas”.

She said: “We are delighted to see this good performance continuing into January and by having stores at the heart of the community, our independent retailers are providing customers with a high-quality individual service.

“Convenience is our business and by constantly tailoring our offer to local customer needs and developing categories like food-to-go, we will continue to maximise sales.

Hoste said Spar is now focusing on converting “emergency shoppers into more loyal everyday shoppers” as it bids to grow sales in the fiercely competitive convenience market.