Convenience store and newsagents group McColl’s has reported a rise in festive sales as it eyes a float.

McColl’s Retail Group like-for-like sales rose 1.5% and total sales increased 2.6% in the six weeks to January 5, driven by its strong convenience offer and enhanced Christmas ranges.

Retail Week revealed in November that McColl’s is considering a public listing and the festive sales rise may help the retailer stage an IPO.

The trading update was further evidence that convenience was a key characteristic of grocery success over Christmas. The Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all reported strong sales at their small store divisions.

McColl’s opened its 700th convenience store in December last year and is targeting 800 by 2015.

McColl’s chairman and chief executive James Lancaster said: “I’m very pleased with our performance during this period given the continuing tough market environment. Consumers are increasingly shopping at convenience stores and McColl’s is well placed to benefit.

“These trading figures are very encouraging and place us in a good position going into 2014 to continue to take advantage of the wider growth being seen in the convenience sector.”