Conviviality Retail has reported a 1.3% decline in like-for-like sales for the half year ending 1 November 2015, but its store expansion plan remains on target.

The number of stores owned by multisite franchisees increased by 7.4% to 276 over the half year period, with 16 new franchisees joining the group, which operates the Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience and Wine Rack brands.

Like-for-like retail sales during the two peak Christmas weeks rose by 1.1%, with Wine Rack’s sales up 11.1%.

Owner Conviviality plc announced a 38% revenue boost to £252.0m as it benefited from the acquisition of on-trade wholesaler Matthew Clark last October.

Conviviality chief executive officer Diana Hunter said: “We continue to make strong progress against the delivery of our retail strategy of being the UK’s leading franchised off-licence and convenience retailer.

“Franchisee profitability continues to remain strong with franchisees seeing their profits c.15% above 2012 levels and resilient to the changes in the National Living Wage.”

She said the off-licence offer had been key to the success of Conviviality’s brands, with the strategy to improve the credibility of key categories proving to be successful. Wine participation is 9.4% up in the last 18 months, driven by Wine Rack, Hunter added.