Co-op deal helps McColl’s revenue up to £505m

Convenience retailers McColl’s said its revenue rose 7.6% to £504.8 million in the 26 weeks to May 28, 2017, helped by stores acquired from the Co-op.

However, profit before tax fell to £4.5 million from £8.2 million, hurt by £2.3 million in exceptional costs and £1.3 million pre-opening costs.

The firm’s net debt rose to £110.8 million from £42.3 million but McColl’s said: “Management remain comfortable that this debt profile is in line with previously described expectations.”

Interim dividend per share was maintained at 3.4p.

McColl’s said it successfully integrated 298 stores acquired from the Co-op on time and on budget and that early trading performance of those stores was in line with management’s expectations.

The company said its current store base comprises 1,292 convenience stores and 358 newsagents — an 80% increase in convenience stores since the firm’s IPO in 2014, with around 10 single convenience store acquisitions planned for the second half of the year.

McColl’s chief executive Jonathan Miller said: “I am encouraged by the performance we have delivered over the first half of the year as our business has continued to gain momentum.

“We have traded well in a challenging environment and also benefited from the recent hot weather, which has helped to drive sales in key growth categories including grocery and alcohol.

“We are delighted to have completed the integration of the acquired stores, on time and on budget.

“We have welcomed over 3,500 new colleagues who have done a great job in supporting customers through the transition, and early trading is in line with our expectations.

“With all 298 stores now on board, they are expected to make a material contribution to sales and profit in the second half of the year and beyond.

“Our focus remains on enhancing our convenience proposition through growing market share, developing our product ranges and delivering excellent customer service.

“As the wider convenience and wholesale sector evolves and continues to grow, McColl’s is in a strong position to benefit.

“We remain confident that our standing as a leading neighbourhood retailer will allow us to continue to achieve further progress against our strategy and deliver sustainable returns for shareholders.”