// McColl’s sales drop and swings to a loss in the 26 weeks to May 24
// The Covid-19 pandemic led to store closures and reduced services
McColl’s has swung to a loss on the back of a sales decline at its interim mark due to the “extraordinary change” brought on by the Covid-19 crisis.
The convenience grocery chain posted a loss before tax of £500,000 in the 26 weeks to May 24, down from a £500,000 million profit in the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile sales dropped one per cent to £604.8 million due to store closures and reduced services.
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Like-for-like sales grew 8.3 per cent, which McColl’s said accelerated in the second quarter.
Gross margin dropped from 25.4 per cent from the previous year to 24.9 per cent, which was down to shoppers “moving away away from impulse purchases to lower margin take home products as well as multi-buys and value items”.
“We have seen an extraordinary change since the onset of the crisis,” McColl’s chief executive Jonathan Miller said.
“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.
“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.”