Retailer McColl’s to sell 100 newsagents shops

McColl's Retail Group is to sell 100 of its less profitable newsagents shops.

McColl's Retail Group is to sell 100 of its less profitable newsagents shops.

Retail group McColl’s is to sell 100 of its less profitable newsagents in a further move to focus on convenience stores.

Over the last last eight years, the company has more than doubled its estate of McColl’s-branded convenience stores to 873, now representing more than half of its total portfolio.

The proposed sale represents more than one-fifth of its current total of 474 newsagents shops, which operate as RS McColl in Scotland and as Martin’s in the rest of the UK,

McColl’s chief executive James Lancaster said: “We have continued to make good progress on enhancing our offering and capturing growth in the convenience market.

“As we continue to grow our convenience store estate we constantly review our wider store portfolio, and from this we have identified 100 newsagents which no longer align to our strategic objectives.

“The sale of these stores will generate funds which will allow us to invest further in profitable convenience stores,” he added.

McColl’s said that the stores be would be sold for no less than their asset value and their disposal was expected to be earnings neutral in 2016.

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It added that it would “continue to run profitable newsagents and convert these to convenience format where appropriate”.

The prospects for staff at the affected shops is unclear. The stores will be marked as going concerns by specialist business sales agent Christie & Co but the security of jobs will depend on buyers being found.

The location of the stores to be sold has not been disclosed. The are currently 13 Martin’s-branded stores in Suffolk and north Essex, including four in Chelmsford, three in Colchester and others in Saxmundham, Bungay, Haverhill, Dovercourt, Frinton-on-Sea and Great Baddow. The group also has 33 McColl’s convenience stores in the area.