McColls on track for 1,000 c-stores by close of 2016

McColl’s Retail Group has announced solid quarterly results and falling annual results ending 29 November 2015, as it aims to achieve 1,000 convenience stores by the end of 2016.

Total quarterly group sales grew by 2.7% which was driven by new store acquisitions. Like-for-like sales were down 1.8% for the quarter, although this was an improvement on the 2.3% fall experienced in the third quarter.

For the full year LFL sales were down 1.9% against the comparable 52 week period. Performance in the premium convenience and food and wine estate held up well at only 0.6% down for the year, once again validating the group’s strategy of focussing on the convenience sector.

Convenience store expansion strategy delivered in line with plan for the year. In line with its plans for the year, the group acquired 60 convenience stores and converted 45 newsagents to the food and wine format, further extending its convenience offer. The group now operates 893 convenience stores representing two thirds of the group’s total store base of 1,352, and remains on track to achieve the target of 1,000 convenience stores by the end of 2016.

The group also made good progress in expanding its food to go offer this year, through the introduction of coffee and snacking modules in 115 stores and the installation of 33 full food to go modules. McColl’s also opened its first Subway franchise during the quarter, in an existing petrol forecourt site in Tamworth, with encouraging early results.

James Lancaster, chief executive commented, “I am delighted to report significant progress on our strategic initiatives for the financial year, continuing our expansion into convenience and capturing further market share. Whilst the sector continues to be challenging, total company like-for-like sales improved in the quarter, and have held up well in our developed convenience stores over the course of the year. We therefore expect results to be in line with the board’s expectations for the year.”