McColl’s shares tumble as it suspends dividend after swinging to loss

Convenience retailer McColl’s swung to a loss and suspended its dividend for the past year after it was hit by a £98 million impairment charge.

Shares in the company tumbled after it slid to a £98.6 million for the year to November from a £7.9 million profit in the previous year, as it was heavily impacted by the one-off writedown.

It also posted lower revenues on the back of recent store closures, with sales for the year declining 1.8% to £1.22 billion while like-for-like sales remained level.

McColl’s added that sales in early fiscal 2020 were encouraging, with like-for-like growth of 0.5% in the 11 weeks.

However, the company added that concerns still remain over “the impact of Brexit and the uncertainty for businesses and consumers that may arise during 2020 and beyond”.

Last year, McColl’s warned its profits for the year were set to miss forecasts on the back of poor weather and declining consumer confidence.

Jonathan Miller, chief executive of the business, said: “We have stabilised the business and refocused on retail execution in 2019, in line with our key priorities for the year.

“Against challenging trading conditions we have made good operational progress, whilst reducing debt and making appropriate levels of investment.

“Looking ahead to full year 2020, we are embarking on a strategic change programme, refining our model and better tailoring our offer to the customers and communities we serve, using the learnings to build the foundations for future growth.”

The retailer said it suspended its final dividend payout of the year in line with its deleveraging policy as it looks to reduce debt further.

Shares in the business dived 14.7% to 36.8p.