McColl’s Retail Group has announced a 1.9% decline in total annual sales following “another challenging year” for the business, but like-for-like sales remained level (0.0%).
In a trading update for the 52 weeks ending 24 November, the c-store group said the drop in total sales reflected store divestments. Like-for-like sales improved from the 1.4% decline in 2018.
Over the year McColl’s trialled a scalable food-to-go format, a last-mile delivery service with Uber Eats and “improved customer segmentations” of the estate.
Adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2019 is expected to be “marginally below expectations” at £32m, as a result of softer market conditions in the second half of the year due to unseasonable weather and lower consumer confidence, it said.
The group’s net debt reduced to £94.1m from £98.6m in 2018, with further progress expected.
Chief executive Jonathan Miller said: “While 2019 has been another challenging year for the business, we have made good progress against our goals of operational stability and good retail execution. We are also pleased to confirm that we have continued to reduce net debt, with further progress anticipated due to our ongoing capital discipline.
“The fundamentals of the convenience channel are strong and we remain a resilient, profitable and cash generative business. We are confident in our plans to rebuild momentum in 2020, and look forward to providing a fuller strategy update at our Preliminary Results in February.”
During the first half of 2019, 10 McColl’s stores were converted to the Morrisons Daily fascia.