Convenience store group Spar has reported like-for-like sales up 4.8% in the three months to October 31.

The retailer said its second quarter results show the popularity of convenience stores is not diminishing, and that it has bucked the economic downturn. Total sales were up 8%.

Spar UK managing director Jerry Marwood said: “Spar retailers are true entrepreneurs, finding opportunities out there everywhere. Our retailers are constantly adapting their businesses to respond to changing consumer needs and it’s clear that in the current market place the faster one can move the bigger the opportunity.”

Spar’s confectionary category showed the largest sales increase, with a 10% hike, suggesting the retailer had taken some of Woolworths’ business. Grocery was up 8.5%, fresh was up 5% and frozen was up 5%.

Marwood 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.”

He said Spar is no longer known for just selling tobacco and that “we are becoming established for selling in more complex categories such as fruit, vegetables and meat”.