Alfred Jones commits to convenience sector despite One Stop sale

Alfred Jones says it is actively considering new sites

Spar retailer Alfred Jones (Warrington) has insisted it will remain a c-store operator despite selling 33 of its 70 stores to Tesco’s One Stop earlier this month.

Writing in its accounts, filed at Companies House this week, the Top 50 indie said following the sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, it would conduct a strategic review.

“The company continues to invest in its stores and post this sale will be formulating a strategic plan for future operations,” said MD Tom Calderbank.

“The company remains committed to convenience retailing despite the difficulties in the sector and is actively considering new sites and the redevelopment of the remaining stores in the reduced estate.”

Chairman Jonathan Jones added: “This significantly reduces the size of the company but will allow us to review our operations and refocus on our medium and long-term plans.”

Calderbank also revealed Alfred Jones had been locked in talks with One Stop over a deal for the past six months.

“The continued growth in our sector is presenting us with opportunities to consider our future strategy,” he added. “Throughout the last financial period and post period end, the company has had a number of approaches for a variety of its assets.”

The accounts revealed pre-tax profits at Alfred Jones slumped 98.2% from £793,000 to £14,000 on flat sales of £103.9m in the year to 29 April 2012. Describing the trading period as “extremely difficult”, Calderbank said: “The marketplace continued to be very competitive with our major competitors continuing their expansion programmes in the convenience market.”

Margins had “suffered” as a result of the increased competition and the fuel market had been “exceptionally volatile”, he added.