McColl’s shares plunged 17% on Thursday’s opening after the group shared a trading update for the year ended 29 November 2020.
Total revenue was up 2.3% to £1.25bn, reflecting the strong demand since the start of the pandemic and like-for-like sales growth for the year were up 12.0%.
The group has continued progress with debt reduction and the year-end net debt has improved from £94.1m to to £91.4m.
Jonathan Miller, McColl’s chief executive, said: “As we look towards the festive period, the safety and well-being of our colleagues and customers continues to be our number one priority. I am extremely proud of all of our colleagues who have been working incredibly hard to keep supplying our neighbourhood communities with the food, goods and services they need.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen strong demand driven by our customer offer and the positioning of our stores in key neighbourhood locations. At the same time, we have faced significant COVID-19 related costs and our operating margins have been reduced by a change in customer behaviour and product mix.
“Despite the challenges of 2020, the pandemic has reinforced our confidence in our o ngoing strategic change programme. The importance of neighbourhood stores has never been greater, and we are well positioned to continue enhancing our convenience offer by further developing our partnership with Morrisons, and further improving the quality of our estate and our overall customer experience.”