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McColl’s grateful for Morrisons support amidst challenging year

McColl’s Retail Group plc, the convenience retailer, has posted its trading update for the 13 weeks (Q4)and 52 week periods ended 25 November 2018.

The company saw total revenue down (0.5)% in Q4; up 8.3% for the full-year reflecting the annualisation of the 2017 acquisition.

Total like-for-like (LFL) sales flat at 0% in Q4, an improvement on Q3 supported by a strong performance in tobacco; with full-year LFL sales down 1.4%.

McColl's completed 59 convenience store revamps in the year, delivering average sales uplifts above 5%. Eleven new convenience stores were acquired in 2018.

The period saw the continuation of the group's estate optimisation programme with 66 under-performing newsagents and smaller convenience stores removed in the year.

Further sale and leaseback transactions were completed in Q4 generating £25m and significant profits on disposal. Year-end net debt was materially lower than expected at around £100m.

The firm stated that in light of transitional challenges and continued difficult trading conditions, adjusted EBITDA for FY18 now expected to be around £35m.

Jonathan Miller, Chief Executive, said, “2018 has been a very difficult year for the business, marked by unprecedented supply chain disruption and ongoing challenges. I am, however, extremely grateful for the continued hard work of all my colleagues and the ongoing support of Morrisons.

“Looking ahead, we expect competition in the grocery retail sector to remain intense and we face into significant cost pressures. Important to our future success will be continuing to develop our partnership with Morrisons, alongside our plans to enhance our neighbourhood convenience offer by improving the quality of our estate and our overall customer experience.”