McColls Retail Group sees positive results for first PLC year

McColl's Retail Group has today announced its preliminary results for the 53 week period ended 30 November 2014, with total revenue up 6.1% to £922.4m (2013: £869.4m), 4.1% after removal of 53rd week, and like-for-like sales up 0.7%.

Operating profit before exceptional items increased by 13.2% to £25.5m (2013: £22.5m). £25m pro rata for 52 weeks, an increase of 11.1%. EBITDA increased by 9.0% to £37.3m (2013: £34.2m).

The group's expansion strategy stayed on track capturing share in growing convenience market with 60 new convenience stores acquired;

There were 45 newsagents converted to food & wine format, and 102 convenience stores converted to premium format.

The portfolio, at the end of the period, comprised of 799 convenience stores and 516 newsagents.

James Lancaster, chief executive, said, 'I'm delighted to announce our first full year set of results since the IPO last February. It has been a year of strong growth despite the wider macroeconomic trends.

'We upped the tempo of our growth strategy finishing the period with 799 convenience stores, and acquiring our 800th shortly after the period end. Our post office conversions were completed ahead of target and are providing our customers with longer and more convenient times to carry out their post office transactions.

'The market continues to be challenging and competitive, but full of opportunities too. We will continue to grow our convenience store business as we head towards achieving our target of 1,000 stores by the end of 2016.

'At the same time we will continue to look for ways to expand and extend the range of products and services we provide our customers in neighbourhoods up and down the country.'

Like-for-like sales were slightly down by -1.2% in the 13 week period ended 1 March 2015 but total revenue continued to grow by 3.8%. The pace of store development is typically lower in the first quarter, especially over the Christmas trading period. Six convenience store acquisitions and 5 food and wine conversions were completed in the period, resulting in a closing store base of 1,317 including 809 convenience stores.