Belfast Telegraph

McColl's boosts sales again as 1,000-store target reached

Retail chain McColl's notched up its sixth year in a row of rising sales as it hit its target for 1,000 convenience stores across the UK.

The group posted a 1.9% rise in sales over the year to November 27 thanks to expansion efforts, which have seen it grow to 1,001 convenience shops.

It is also waiting for clearance from the competition watchdog for its takeover of 298 stores from the Co-operative to boost its chain further.

But with the boost from new stores stripped out, like-for-like sales remained under pressure, falling by 1.7% in the fourth quarter and 1.9% over the full year.

This marked a slight improvement on a 1.8% drop in the previous three months

Same-store sales in its newsagents and standard convenience stores fell 3.3% over the full-year, but McColl's said the performance was better in recently acquired and converted stores, where like-for-like sales lifted 0.8%.

Jonathan Miller, chief executive of McColl's, said the business traded "robustly" in the fourth quarter, with full-year results set to match City forecasts.

He added: " I am delighted to announce that with the recent opening of our new Erdington store, we have achieved our target of operating 1,000 convenience stores by the end of 2016.

"This is a significant milestone in our strategy to grow our neighbourhood presence."

Shares lifted 2% after the fourth quarter trading update.