McColl’s has announced positive first half results, with like-for-like sales up 0.2% and recently acquired stores from the Co-op Group performing particularly well.

But pre-tax profits fell to £4.5m - from £8.2m in the previous year - in the 26 week period ending 28 May 2017, owing to costs associated with the purchase of 298 Co-op stores.

Like-for-like sales grew by 1.4% in the second quarter, which the group attributed to favourable weather and “our evolving mix of growth products”, while like-for-likes in recently acquired and converted stores rose 2.8% in the first half and 3.8% in the second quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA increased to £16.5m (2016: £16.0m), despite being impacted by £1.3m pre-opening costs relating to the acquisition.

Its convenience store refresh project will be extended to over 20 stores in the second half, while progress on Subway continues with one further outlet opened in the first half and four planned in the second half.

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.”