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Convenience store and newsagent chain McColl’s Retail Group (MCLS) has announced a 1.7% rise in fourth quarter sales driven by new stores and food and wine conversions.

The 1.7% fourth quarter sales growth takes full-year revenues growth to 1.9% for the 52 weeks to 27 November.

However, like-for-like sales fell 1.7% in the quarter driven by weaker performance of its traditional newsagents.

This like-for-like performance is a slight improvement on the annual trend, which is down 1.9% for the full year period.

Like-for-like performance in recently acquired and converted stores was up 0.8% for the full year, while like-for-like sales in premium convenience and food and wine stores were down 1%. Like-for-like sales in newsagents and standard convenience stores were down 3.3%.

McColl’s acquired 58 new convenience stores acquired during the year, bringing its total to 1,001 at the year-end.

During the period it also bought 298 convenience stores acquired from The Co-op Group and said integration planning is “progressing well” and it has identified Nisa as its supply chain partner.

A total of 59 food and wine conversions completed this year, while 18 new food to go units were rolled out and it now has 13 Subway outlets in operation.

Jonathan Miller, chief executive, said: “I am delighted to announce that with the recent opening of our new Erdington store, we have achieved our target of operating 1,000 convenience stores by the end of 2016. This is a significant milestone in our strategy to grow our neighbourhood presence and serve more McColl’s customers.

“As we announced in July, we will accelerate our convenience store openings in 2017 with the transformational acquisition of 298 stores from the Co-op. Our integration planning is progressing well and we are on track to begin the conversion programme in January. We are working closely with the Competition and Markets Authority and expect them to announce their findings by 23 December.

“The business has traded robustly in the final quarter with total sales for the full year up 1.9% and we expect our overall financial performance for the year to be in line with the Board’s expectations.”

McColl’s has jumped 3.2% in early trading to 180.6p - heading towards its annual high of 188p.

McColl’s preliminary results for 2015/2016 will be released on 27th February 2017.

Morning update

McColl’s apart, it’s a quiet morning for grocery/fmcg news with no other market updates of note.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has edged backwards 0.2% to 6,772.8pts.

There are some major consumer stocks falling, with Unilever (ULVR) wiping out yesterday’s gains after falling 3.2% to 3,095p and Britvic falling back 2.3% to 558.5p.

The tobacco giants are down again, with British American Tobacco (BATS) down 1.7% to 4,320p and Imperial Brands (IMB) down 1.7% to 3,375.5p. Also falling is Compass Group (CPG), down 1.6% to 1,349p and Marks & Spencer (MKS), down 1.5% to 323.7p.

As well as McColl’s, early risers include Devro (DVO), up 4.5% after yesterday’s fall to 146.3p and Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), up 2.4% to 256p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 finished the day 0.2% up to 6,783.8pts yesterday as oil companies were boosted by Opec reaching a deal to limit production for the first time since 2008.

In grocery Britvic (BVIC) was one of the major movers, after reporting a 10.1% rise in annual sales yesterday morning thanks to volume growth of 12.3%. The Robinsons maker closed 4.3% higher to 571.5p.

Other major stocks on the up were Unilever (ULVR), up 2.1% to 3,196p, Coca-Cola HBC (CCH), up 1.5% to 1,700p and PZ Cussons (PZC) up 1.1% to 308.8p.

There were also strong rises for Majestic Wine (WINE), which rose 2.8% back to 300p and Fever-Tree Drinks (FEVR), which was up 1.9% to 1,070p.

There was some profit taking by Cranswick (CWK) investors yesterday as the share price rise driven by its acquisition of Dunbia’s pork business in mid-October and strong first half results earlier this week was tempered by a 3.7% fall yesterday to 2,240p.

Other fallers included Ocado (OCDO), down 2.4% to 270p and tobacco firms Imperial Brands (IMB) and British American Tobacco (BAT), which fell 2.4% to 3,433p and 1.4% to 4,393.5p respectively. Also down was Morrisons (MRW), falling 1.2% to 217.5p and Compass Group (CPG), down 1.5% to 1,371p.

Another major faller yesterday was Greene King (GNK), the pub operator and brewer, which was down 3.6% to 686p after it warned yesterday of future increasing cost pressures.

Also down were Devro (DVO), down 6% to 140p and PureCircle (PURE), down 5.8% to 226p.