McColl has completed its transformation from a CTN to a convenience operator.

Martin McColl has completed its transformation from a CTN to a convenience operator and now has more c-stores than newsagents for the first time.

The top 50 indie has been steadily converting its traditional CTNs to c-stores for a number of years. Its annual report, published this week, revealed that by 25 November 2012, its year-end, the retailer had 655 c-stores and 614 CTNs.

Chairman and CEO James Lancaster described the shift as “a landmark in our growth strategy”. A spokeswoman also revealed that since the year-end the gulf had grown even wider. It now has 671 c-stores compared with 595 CTNs.

Lancaster added that a new food and wine conversion format launched during the year had helped convert CTNs into mini c-stores “quickly and efficiently”.

“During the year we converted 36 newsagents using this format and we now have 50 of these stores in our convenience estate,” he said. “This is proving to be both a great new way for us to increase our c-store numbers and also to ensure that these former newsagents continue to serve their local communities.”

It also launched an initiative called Customer First to improve store standards and customer service. “This is particularly important as we incremmcmccolmcccase the number of c-stores, which offer a more varied customer service and selling environment compared with a traditional newsagent,” Lancaster said.

He added that a review of Martin McColl’s supply chain would be completed by the end of 2013.