McColl's sees its sales hold up through pandemic
McColl's Retail Group, which has convenience stores across the Black Country, Shropshire and Staffordshire, saw revenue slip only one per cent to £604.8 million in the six months to May 24.
It reflected store closures during the period and lower services revenue due to the temporary withdrawal of scratch cards, offset by stronger demand since the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK.
Like-for-like sales grew 8.3 per cent with growth accelerating in the second quarter for the group which has 1,500 shops.
The loss before tax was £1.3 million from a profit of £200,000 a year before.
Chief executive Jonathan Miller said: "I have never been prouder of McColl's and all our colleagues who have been working incredibly hard in such a challenging environment following the Covid-19 outbreak. The business has responded quickly to keep the neighbourhood communities we serve supplied with the food, goods and services they need.
"We have seen an extraordinary change since the onset of the crisis. Strong demand, reaching double digit like-for-like sales in recent months, has been accompanied by a significant shift in the pattern of trade. Food grocery and alcohol sales have been particularly strong, in line with our longer-term strategy to grow these categories as part of our total sales mix. Meanwhile, customers have been spending less on impulse and buying more multipack products.
"The safety of customers and colleagues remains paramount, and we acted quickly to deploy personal protective equipment and the necessary social distancing measures, the costs of which have been partially offset by the business rates saving.
"Fundamentally, the pandemic has served to reinforce our conviction in our ongoing strategic change programme to serve our customers with a modern, local convenience offer with better meal solutions, fresh groceries and alcohol. What is clear is that the strategic importance of our neighbourhood stores and convenience retail to local communities has never been greater and, through implementing our strategy and improving our customer proposition, I remain confident in our long-term prospects."
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