McColl’s Retail Group’s increased focus on convenience trading paid off with an increase in sales during the Christmas period.

Total sales were up 2.6% with like-for-like performance up 1.5% in the six weeks to 5 January 2014. According to the group, this growth was underpinned by “strong convenience offering and good sales of Christmas ranges”.

McColl’s opened its 700th convenience store in December and aims to grow its c-store network to 800 by the end of 2015 by acquiring more premises currently under independent ownership. The group also aims to improve its product range and convert its CTN-based outlets into a Food & Wine format, in collaboration with its supply partners Nisa and Palmer & Harvey.

Nisa believes that the McColl’s Group will become the organisation’s biggest member after Costcutter exits its supply agreement in July, accounting for 15% of group turnover.

McColl’s chairman and ceo James Lancaster said: “I’m very pleased with our performance during this period given the continuing tough market environment. Consumers are increasingly shopping at convenience stores and McColl’s is well placed to benefit. 

“These trading figures are very encouraging and place us in a good position going into 2014 to continue to take advantage of the wider growth being seen in the convenience sector. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues for all their hard work over the Christmas period and for their role in achieving this strong performance.”