McColl’s ‘making progress’, says boss Miller

Jonathan Miller

McColl’s Retail Group has reported a fall in total revenue of 1.9% for the year ended 24 November.

It said this reflected store divestments as it progresses with a store optimisation programme.

Total like-for-like sales stayed level year-on-year, compared to a 1.4% drop in 2018.

Adjusted earnings before tax are expected to be £32m, marginally below expectations due to unseasonable weather and lower consumer confidence in the second half of the year.

The Group continues to make progress with its debt reduction programme, with net debt down to £94.1m from last year’s £98.6m.

The business, which struggled in the wake of the Palmer & Harvey collapse almost two years ago, said it had improved on-shelf availability and advanced its category review programme.

It is also trialling a new scalable food-to-go format, an Uber Eats partnership and “improved customer segmentation of the estate”.

Key appointments during the year included Robbie Bell as Chief Financial Officer and Richard Crampton as Chief Commercial Officer.

McColl’s Chief Executive Jonathan Miller (pictured) said: “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.”