McColl’s has issued a profit warning for the year, blaming “softer market conditions” in the second half of the year on unseasonable weather and low consumer confidence.

The grocer said that adjusted EBITDA was expected to be £32m, “marginally below expectations” for the 52-week period ending November 24, 2019.

In its full-year trading update, McColl’s reported that like for like sales were level on the year, and that total sales were down 1.9% for the full year, which it said reflected “store divestments”.

The convenience store group said it had continued to make progress reducing its debts down to £94.1m, from £98.6m the previous year.

McColl’s also flagged continuing improvements with availabilities and the progress of its category review programme, and last-mile delivery trials it had undertaken with Uber Eats.

Chief executive Jonathan Miller said it had been “another challenging year” for McColl’s, following the collapse of wholesale partner Palmer & Harvey last year, but said he was confident that 2020 would see the business “rebuild momentum”.

“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.”