Convenience store group Spar has reported strong second-quarter results, soaking up some of the confectionery share left up for grabs after the collapse of Woolworths.

The retailer reported like-for-like sales up 4.8% in the three months to October 31. Total sales climbed 8%. The confectionery category –  where defunct Woolworths had been strong – showed the largest sales increase, up 10%.

Spar UK managing director Jerry Marwood said Spar retailers are adapting their models to ensure they were following trends in the challenging economic times. He said: “Customers are obviously talking about price and are reading promotional leaflets a lot more than they were. They have cultivated a bargain-hunting approach – making weekly budgets and shopping lists and shopping around to different stores to get the deals they want.”

Sales in Spar’s grocery section were up 8.5%, fresh produce was up 5% and frozen was up 5%.

Marwood added: “Our stores no longer just depend on selling tobacco and the ‘old’ convenience model is changing. That means we are becoming established for selling in more complex categories such as fruit, vegetables and meat.”

He said independent retailers “will have an important place in the lives of customers in 2010” and that “our retailers are constantly adapting their businesses to respond to changing consumer needs”. He added: “It’s clear that in the current market place the faster one can move the bigger the opportunity.”