McColl’s has reported a 2.3% fall in third-quarter like-for-likes but its boss insists it was “solid progress” in what remains a tough market.

  • Third-quarter like-for-likes slip 2.3%
  • Standard convenience and newsagent outlets register 4.6% sales decline
  • Boss insists group making “solid progress” in “challenging sector”

The firm’s like-for-likes were dragged down by its standard convenience and newsagent outlets, where sales in the 13 weeks to the end of August fell 4.6%.

At its premium convenience and food and wine stores like-for-likes were broadly flat.

However, total sales in the quarter were up 3%, boosted by “new store acquisitions”. In the year so far, the group has acquired 46 stores and 26 food and wine stores have been created. 

Chief executive James Lancaster said: “We have made further solid progress in the third quarter in what continues to be a challenging time for the sector.”

In July, the retailer reported a return to profit in its first half, after suffering a £4m loss in the prior period last year.

McColl’s is also is piloting a partnership with fast-food giant Subway in a bid to create a “more sophisticated” food-to-go offer.

It also said today that it has seen strong sales from the food to go category following the introduction of coffee and snacking modules to 119 of its stores.

Lancaster added: “We remain on track to achieve results in line with the board’s expectations for the full year.”