The chief operating officer of grocer McColl’s is set to retire, having worked for the convenience store group for over two decades.

Retail Week understands that McColl’s long-serving chief operating officer Dave Thomas will be retiring from the convenience store group, and the listed business will issue a note to shareholders confirming his departure this morning.

Thomas will stay on with the business in a consultancy role until at least April 6, when he will step away entirely. He has also stood down from the retailer’s board of directors. 

In a statement on the RNS this morning, McColl’s chief executive Jonathan Miller said: ”On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Dave for the enormous contribution he has made to the company during his time here. Over the years he has played an important role in helping to build McColl’s into a leading convenience retailer and we wish Dave all the very best for the future.” 

Thomas’ departure comes after the convenience store group suffered a torrid year, which culminated in it issuing a profit warning for the 52-week period ending November 24, 2019 – with EBITDA expected to be £32m.

McColl’s has struggled to bounce back from the collapse of former wholesale partner Palmer & Harvey in late 2017, which chief executive Jonathan Miller said caused “significant supply chain disruption” for the group and hampered profits.

In its full-year trading update, McColl’s reported flat like-for-like sales and a 1.9% downturn in total sales. However, the convenience store group flagged that it had made progress reducing its debts, down to £94.1m.

Thomas first joined McColl’s in 1998, when he joined as a regional manager for convenience. He was made operations manager in 2000 and operations director in 2005.

In 2017 he managed the acquisition of 298 former Co-op stores into the McColl’s estate.