Shares fall as McColl's looks to sell 100 newsagents

Kasmira Jefford
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McColl's is converting more newsagents into food and wine stores (Source: McColl's)

McColl’s has put 100 newsagents on the block as it focuses on opening more lucrative convenience stores instead.

The FTSE 250 retailer, which listed last year, has been steadily converting its newsagents into food and wine outlets at it looks to advantage of the fast-growing convenience sector and lure in higher-spending shoppers.

The company said it carried out a review of its 1,346-strong store portfolio and identified 100 stores that did not fit with its long-term plans.

It will look to sell them “for no less than their asset value” and their closure is expected to be earnings neutral in 2016. Agents at Christie + Co are have been appointed to handle the sale.

Shares have fallen by fell three per cent on the announcement and the group was trading at around 145p this afternoon, which is well below the 191p price at which it made its market debut last year.

McColl’s chief executive and founder, James Lancaster, said: “As we continue to grow our convenience store estate we constantly review our wider store portfolio, and from this we have identified 100 newsagents which no longer align to our strategic objectives. The sale of these stores will generate funds which will allow us to invest further in profitable convenience stores”.

The group completed 10 conversions in the three months to the end of August 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.

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