McColl’s Retail Group has trumpeted a “step change” in sales growth, driven by the integration of 298 new convenience stores it acquired from the Co-op Group for £117m last year and strong performance from the existing estate.
The retailer, which has 1,300 convenience stores and 350 newsagents, announced like-for-like sales in recently acquired and converted stores trading for more than 12 months up 2.6% in the 13 weeks ended 27 August.
Year-to-date like for likes edged up 0.4%, driven by growth in key grocery categories. Convenience stores led the like-for-like sales charge – up 0.7%, with sales in newsagents up 0.3%. Total revenue climbed 31.1% for the quarter and 15.8% for the year to date.
Jonathan Miller, chief executive, said the quarter had been “significant” with the integration of all the newly acquired convenience stores and the previously reported announcement of a “ground-breaking” new supply partnership with Morrisons, featuring the Safeway brand, which would begin in January.
He said: “The 298 newly integrated convenience stores have driven strong revenue growth, and our existing estate has continued to perform well, delivering a second consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth.”
McColl’s completed three further convenience store refreshes and 20 more were planned by the end of the financial year.
“We continue to look at opportunities to further enhance organic growth, and are pleased by the progress we are making with our convenience store refresh trial,” continued Miller.
Customer feedback had been positive and the early performance had been “very strong” with ”significant sales uplift and increased participation in key convenience categories, including fresh and chilled food”.
Miller was confident that the planned relaunch of Safeway products, named after the former supermarket that Morrisons acquired for £3bn 13 years ago, would significantly enhance McColl’s fresh food credentials. “We expect a material sales and profit benefit in the medium term”, he added.