McColl’s celebrates 120 years on the high street

McColl’s celebrates 120 years as the UK's leading neighbourhood retailer by launching a series of competitions.
“The importance of neighbourhood stores has never been greater than it is today." McColl’s CEO.

McColl’s has kicked off the celebrations of its 120 year anniversary, in recognition of it serving local communities across the UK with grocery essentials.

As part of the celebrations, anniversary banners and window posters will be displayed in store and a series of competitions have been launched on social media giving McColl’s customers a chance to win vouchers and more.

McColl’s’ 16,000 staff will also receive a celebratory staff discount and a box of toffees, each in recognition of founder Toffee Bob McColl.

Those celebrating 50 years of service at the convenience chain will also be telling their individual stories from over the years.

Robert Smyth McColl.

McColl’s inception started back in 1901 when the Scottish footballer Robert Smyth “Toffee Bob” McColl decided to use part of his signing on fee for Newcastle United Football Club to establish three confectionery shops in Glasgow, branded RS McColl, with his brother Tom.

The business was a success, growing to 180 stores by the 1930s then RS McColl was sold to Cadbury’s in 1931 before Bob retired in 1946.

The wider retail business that would eventually be named McColl’s was established in 1973, including Forbuoys newsagents which opened its first food store in 1994.

In 1998 McColl’s went on to acquire the Martin’s chain of newsagents and convenience stores, which at the time owned the RS McColl stores in Scotland. The move made McColl’s the largest neighbourhood retailer in the UK.

Today McColl’s has grown its estate to over 1200 stores, with over 1000 convenience stores selling a wide range of supermarket-quality products and fresh groceries.

“It is a privilege to be celebrating 120 years of rich history at McColl’s,” McColl’s chief executive Jonathan Miller said.

“We owe a great deal to ‘Toffee Bob’ McColl’s ingenuity and entrepreneurialism in founding the business all those years ago, and the 16,000 colleagues we have today are all proud custodians of this brilliant business.

“As a modern, food-led convenience retailer with over 1200 stores across the UK, McColl’s looks very different from the confectionery business it was in 1901, but our fundamental ethos of serving local communities has remained an unwavering constant at the heart of the business.

“The importance of neighbourhood stores has never been greater than it is today, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our colleagues for their continued hard work in laying down the foundations for the next 120 years of success for McColl’s.”

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