Convenience stores boost sales for McColl’s owner

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Sales at Martin Retail Group, the Glasgow-based operator of the McColl’s and RS McColl chains, have edged up after the company converted more of its newsagent branches into convenience stores.

The firm – which was founded in 1901 by Scottish international footballer Robert Smyth McColl but is now owned by 
Essex-based Martin McColl 
Retail Group – switched a further 16 stores over to its “new food and drink format”.

Revenues rose to £298.9 million in the year to 25 November from £292.4m in the previous 12 months, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Pre-tax profits were flat at £10m after the firm closed or sold 11 “under-performing” shops, taking the size of its estate down to 453 stores.

Writing in the directors’ report, company secretary Simon Miller said the board was “satisfied with the financial performance for the period in a difficult economic environment”.

In March, the wider Martin McColl Retail Group signed a £100m debt refinancing deal with a syndicate of six lenders, which will allow it to open a further 150 convenience stores.

The group already has some 1,260 branches, about half of which are convenience stores.

McColl ran the firm with his brother Tom while playing for Rangers, Queen’s Park and English side Newcastle United.