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Like-for-like sales dropped at convenience store chain McColl’s (MCLS) as it continued to feel the impact of Palmer & Harvey’s collapse last year.

Same store sales in the three months through to 26 August 2018 slipped 0.9% due to the effects of subsequent supply chain problems, despite the positive impact of warmer weather.

Last November former distributer Palmer & Harvey collapsed, at a time when it supplied 700 McColl’s store.

Total sales for the period rose 0.6%, with sales for the first three quarters of the year up 12%, aided by the integration of 298 stores acquired in 2017.

The stores were purchased from the Co-op last year, but will continue to be supplied by Nisa until 2020.

Last month, the convenience group completed the rollout of its supply agreement with Morrison’s to 1,300 of its stores ahead of schedule.

The roll-out started in January and was originally planned for completion by November, but was brought forward following P&H’s collapse.

“The accelerated rollout of 1,300 stores to Morrison’s supply is now complete, including all 700 stores formerly serviced by P&H,” said chief executive Jonathan Miller.

“The rapid rate of transition has been a fantastic achievement, being delivered in less than nine months, and in the face of unprecedented disruption in the sector and for our business.

“With our new supply chain partner in place, we can refocus on day-to-day operations, including improving availability and rebuilding trade in those stores most affected by the disruption, and I’m grateful for the continued effort from all of my colleagues.

“Our new supply arrangement also brings with it the supermarket quality Safeway range, which will help us to improve our customer experience and neighbourhood convenience offering.”

McColl’s completed 26 store refreshes in the period, bringing the total of improved stores to 80, with updated stores delivering average sales boosts above 5%.

The company’s store acquisition programme continued over the summer, with the purchase of seven new stores. In order to support its store investment programme, it generated £10m through sale and leaseback transactions.

McColl’s shares dropped 0.5% to 142.5p in early trading.

Morning update

Pressure on high street retailers returned as retail sales growth slowed in August, as the summer heatwave drew to a close.

Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that sales in August grew 1.3% in August, with growth down from 1.6% in July.

Squeezed shoppers turned away from non-food items, which saw a 2.1% in sales for the three months to August.

On a like-for-like basis, retail sales grew 0.2% in August compared with the previous year, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.

“The trend of weak retail sales growth showed little sign of abating. Continued pressure on disposable incomes has meant that some shoppers are less able to spend on discretionary non-food items, such as clothing,” said Helen Dickinson, head of the BRC.

Tesco (TSCO) has announced that investment fund managing partner Melissa Bethell has joined the supermarket as a non-executive director.

Bethell, who is managing partner at Comcast NBC Universal backed investment fund Atairos Europe, will become a member of Tesco’s audit committee from 24 September.

She is also currently a director at listed holding company Exor, business process outsourcing business Atento, and was previously MD at PE group Bain Capital for 18 years.

The new board member will bring extensive “executive and non-executive financial, technology and strategic experience”, the company said.

“I am delighted to welcome Melissa to the Board as a non-executive director,” said chairman John Allan.

“Her broad range of skills and experience will be of significant benefit to the Board as we implement our strategy. The Board and I very much look forward to working with her over the coming years.”

Retail property group Supermarket REIT had its property portfolio independently valued at £264.9, representing a 4.1% improvement on acquisition price.

The group also received an annualised rental income of £13.7 million in the financial year, with annual rental increases of 3.6%.

In the year after its £100m IPO, the company had two follow-on private equity funding rounds where it raised £85m. It added six stores to its portfolio during the year.

“We have rapidly built our portfolio of supermarket property assets, precisely in line with the business plan outlined at IPO and have successfully delivered our 5.5 pence per ordinary share dividend target,” said chairman, Nick Hewson.

“Our high-quality portfolio produces attractive inflation linked income for shareholders together with the potential for long term capital returns.”

Elsewhere, Dutch supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize has repurchased 3,355,808 shares for €70.4m as part of a €2bn share buyback programme announce in November 2017. To date, the company has bought back almost €1.5bn in shares.

In the markets, the FTSE 100 has remained fairly flat, just nudging up 0.1% to 7,508pts as trade concerns continue.

Early risers this morning include Crawshaw Group (CRAW), up 3.9% to 3.3p, Greencore (GNC), up 2.4% to 179p, and Greene King (GNK), up 1.5% to 486.6p.

Early fallers included Treatt (TRT), down 2.7% to 473.8p, JD Wetherspoon (JDW), down 1.1% to 1,179p and Just East (JE.), down 1% to 768.6p.

Yesterday in the city

The fall in the value of the pound provided a welcome boost for the FTSE 100, pushing up 1% to 7,504.6pts in yesterday’s trading, as commodity stocks rose.

Finsbury Food Group (FIF) announced a deal to buy free-from bakery specialist Ultrapharm for up to £25m as gluten-free continues to provide growth in the bakery sector.

Following the announcement, the private label manufacturer saw shares rise 1.2% to 126p.

It was a particularly positive day for butcher business Crawshaw Group (CRAW) which rebounded 23% to 3.2p, after a 30% fall last week on the pack of a new profit warning.

Other risers yesterday included Hilton Food Group (HFG), up 2.4% to 936p, McColl’s (MCLS), up 2.3% to 143.2p, Young & Co brewery (YNGA), up 2.2% to 1,717.5p, and Fevertree Drinks (FEVR), up 1.7% to 3,787p.

JD Wetherspoons (JDW) was one of the most significant fallers yesterday, after it was downgraded by broker Citi, dropping 4.3% to 1,192p.

Yesterday’s fallers included Dairy Crest (DCG), down 4.2% to 455.4p, Marston’s (MARS), down 2.2% to 90.6%, and Greene King (GNK), down 1.5% to 479.5p.