Brexit blamed for poor sales at McColl’s

High street newsagent and convenience store business McColl’s has blamed Brexit and poor summer weather for a fall in sales, as shares continue to trade at all-time lows.

The retailer, which has around 1,550 stores across the country, said like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to August 25 dropped 2.2%, with total sales down 3.6%.

Chief executive Jonathan Miller said: “This has been a highly unseasonable summer for the retail sector and our sales performance reflects both this and the ongoing macro-economic uncertainty.

“The fundamentals of the convenience channel are strong and our focus remains on good retail execution whilst maintaining strong capital discipline.

“We continue to make operational progress and we anticipate results in line with expectations for the full year.”

He added that four new stores were opened during the period, and attempts to improve availability and products was on track.

Shares fell 0.9p at 47.5p in early trading on Thursday, just shy of the all-time low of 46.33p hit earlier this month. The company joined the stock market in 2014 at 191p a share.

In the first nine months of the financial year, like-for-like sales are down 0.1% with total revenues – which include lost revenues from store closures – fell 1.2%.

Profit margins have also been under pressure, as McColl’s continues to feel the effects of the collapse of its supplier, Palmer & Harvey, last year.

Simon Bowler, retail analyst at Numis, said: “We believe McColl’s are back on the front foot in terms of strategic direction and priorities.

“However, we await further evidence of these initiatives delivering traction, mindful that the business is operating against a challenging retail backdrop.”

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