I’m at Building’s supermarket conference, and it’s a full house. So far we’ve heard Tony Jacob from John Lewis Partnership and had an update on market activity from Planet Retail’s Bryan Roberts.

Already some clear themes are coming through:The rise of the convenience store and how construction is going to have to accelerate the pace to create more smaller stores rather than a smaller number of large storesCollaboration between retailers – much has been said about the joint venture between John Lewis Partnership and BootsThe push for supermarkets to be sustainable and just as importantly to be seen by customers to be sustainable.

Now there’s a panel discussion on the convergence of food and non-food retail, but already the debate has gone beyond to encompass cost cutting and the green agenda.

Steve Fuller, head of construction at M&S, emphasized the point that sustainability is not just “bling” for supermarkets, it’s become core to what they do. He raised a laugh from the audience when he said:  “It’s not about sticking up a wind turbine in a car park to power a toaster”.