Convenience retailer McColl’s has recorded annual revenue of more than £1bn for the first time, despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter.

The group said the acquisition of 298 Co-Op stores helped it boost sales 19.1 per cent in the year to 26 November.

Fourth quarter sales rose 29 per cent, but on a like-for-like basis, they were down 1.1 per cent as McColl’s said “declining traditional categories and unfavourable weather” negatively impacted the business.

McColl’s, which recently sealed a supply deal with Morrisons, said full-year like-for-like sales nudged up 0.1 per cent.

Chief executive Jonathan Miller said: “For the first time the business has achieved annual revenues of more than £1bn, boosted by our transformational acquisition of 298 high-quality convenience stores last year, demonstrating that this is now a business of real scale.

“As we look ahead to next year, we will focus on delivering an enhanced customer offer in over 1,300 stores through the groundbreaking wholesale partnership we signed with Morrisons, which will see us launch hundreds of Safeway branded products, exclusively in McColl’s from January 2018.”

Morrisons said in August that it will relaunch the Safeway brand after striking a deal with McColl’s to supply the convenience store chain with groceries.

Commenting on the administration of wholesaler Palmer and Harvey, McColl’s said it was trying to minimise any potential impact on customers.

“We are in ongoing discussions with our supply chain partners, and manufacturers, with a contingency plan already in place to ensure continuity of supply to the around 700 newsagents and smaller convenience stores, previously supplied by P&H, within our estate of 1,611 stores,” the group said.

Earlier this month, P&H crashed into administration, sparking 2,500 job losses and putting a further 900 at risk.

PA

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