Multinational food retail chain SPAR has reported that some of its stores across the north of England have been affected by a cyberattack.

The attack impacted the IT systems of more than 300 Spar convenience stores, affecting their ability to process card payments.

This has forced most of the stores to close temporarily, while those that have remained open are only accepting cash payments.

A Spar spokesperson confirmed that the cyberattack targeted James Hall & Company, a business that supplies to almost 600 Spar stores in the region.

In a series of tweets, the company said: “James Hall & Company are currently aware of an online attack on its IT system.

“This has not affected all SPAR stores across the North of England, but a number have been impacted over the past 24 hours and we are working to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

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“We apologise for the inconvenience this is causing our customers and we are working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation.”

A UK National Cyber Security Centre spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue affecting Spar stores and are working with partners to fully understand the incident.

“The NCSC has published guidance for organisations on how to effectively detect, respond to and resolve cyber incidents.”

In October, British supermarket chain Tesco was the target of an attempted attack by hackers, resulting in a two-day service outage.

The outage left thousands of the retailer’s customers unable to access the website or mobile app to shop or book orders.

Earlier in the year, hackers targeted the tills and self-service machines of 500 Co-op stores in Sweden.

The incident was part of a coordinated worldwide cyberattack on at American software company Kaseya, whose technology is used by Co-op supplier Visma Esscom.