McColl’s Retail Group suffered declining like-for-like sales in the first half of the year, although it grew its sales overall due to store acquisitions.

In the 26-week period ending 29 May 2016, total revenue was up 2.2% to £469.2m, with like-for-like sales down 2.2%. Sales in its newsagent and standard c-store estate were down by 3.7%, and by 1.5% in its premium convenience and food and wine stores. However, like-for-like sales in stores that the group had acquired or converted since 2014 were up by 1%. Operating profit was flat at £9.6m, with pre-tax profit up 8.1% to £8.2m.

McColl’s acquired 24 new c-stores during the six-month period, meaning the group has enlarged its c-store estate by 30% since the flotation of the company via an IPO in 2014. At the end of the period, the storeholding comprised 933 convenience stores and 433 newsagents, not including the recent acquisition of 298 c-stores from the Co-op Group, which are expected to come on stream from January 2017.

A further 19 newsagents were converted to the food and wine format during the first half of the year, with five Subway outlets added. Like-for-like food to go sales increased by 11.4%.

Chief executive Jonathan Miller commented: “I am pleased to report marked strategic progress and a robust financial performance in what has been another challenging period for the sector.

“We are committed to enhancing our convenience proposition through growing market share, developing our product ranges and delivering great customer service.

”I am especially pleased that we have been successful in the transformational acquisition of 298 Co-operative stores, announced on 13th July 2016. This is a pivotal moment for the business and allows us to accelerate our growth ambitions and considerably increase our neighbourhood presence.”