The chief executive of McColl’s has said the convenience store group will look to shut as many as 330 stores over the next three or four years as it seeks to rationalise its store estate as part of its strategic shift.

Jonathan Miller said McColl’s has a store estate of around 1,430 stores and would look to reduce that to an “optimal estate size” of 1,100 over the next three or four years.

“Those divestments will either be closures or sales to third parties,” he added.

Miller said the UK convenience food market is growing and, as a result, McColl’s would be looking at reducing its estate of newsagents in favour of larger, convenience-focused stores.

He said there would be some job losses but the convenience retailer would look to mitigate those where possible.

“We’re closing the smaller, newsagent stores, so there would be more minimal job losses because of that. Where those smaller stores are sold, the staff would go across to the new owner. Where we close stores, we do everything we can to get people into different roles across the estate. We would hope that it wouldn’t have a significant impact on jobs,” Miller said.

Miller said when the convenience store group floated in January 2014, the estate was split roughly 60/40 in terms of convenience stores compared to newsagents.

McColl’s hopes that when the strategic change is complete, the estate will be more than 90% convenience.

The convenience group boss also said it would look to trial “new format stores in half a dozen locations to try range price layouts and different operating models” in the first half of the year.

McColl’s to close more than 300 stores over next four years