McColl’s Retail Group is aiming to have 555 ‘premium’ c-stores in its estate by November 2016.

It currently has 454 of the larger stores in its 1,291-strong estate - up from 333 six months ago. Premium shops also stock a wider range, including own label from Nisa, as part of a supply deal struck last July.

The deal originally specified 330 premium c-stores. However, CEO James Lancaster confirmed Nisa was now delivering to all 454 premium stores and said the range was “fantastic”.

Of the new premium shops, McColl’s acquired 23 in the six months to 25 May and converted 98 from the ‘standard’ format, supplied by Palmer & Harvey. Like-for-like sales were 2.4% higher than for standard, it said.

By converting more standard shops McColl’s could potentially increase basket size by 20%. McColl’s average basket spend is £5.35 but current average basket at a Nisa-branded store is £6.68 [Him!].

McColl’s reported a half-year pre-tax loss of £4m this week due to exceptional costs of £6.2m largely relating to its February IPO. Sales rose 3.6% to £444.2m and like-for-likes by 2.1%.