AGENTS and convenience store group McColl’s said total sales rose by three per cent in the third quarter as it expanded its footprint, despite suffering a drop in sales at stores open more than a year.
The London-listed company, which made its market debut last year, said like-for-like sales dropped by 2.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to 30 August as weak trading in its standard shops offset a stronger performance across its upmarket food and wine stores.
The retailer’s founder and 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. Whilst like-for-like sales were down overall, our premium and food and wine convenience stores continued to outperform our newsagents and standard convenience stores.”
McColl’s has been steadily converting its newsagents into food and wine outlets to take advantage of the fast-growing convenience sector. The group completed 10 conversions in the period and now has a total of 866 convenience stores representing 64 per cent of the group’s total portfolio of 1,346. It expects to build those up to 1,000 by the end of 2016.
Like its supermarket and other peers, McColl’s has also increased its focus on the “food to go” market by installing coffee and snack machines in its stores.
It has also teamed up with fast food giant Subway to trial franchises within its stores, with the first one due to open next month.