Supermarket chain buys McColl’s including Swanage store

Jobs at the convenience store McColl’s in Swanage have been saved after the supermarket Morrisons bought all of McColl’s 1,100 shops across the UK, including the one in Institute Road.

McColl’s has been in financial trouble for some time, which was made worse by Covid-related supply chain problems.

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McColl's store in Swanage

The future of McColl’s had been uncertain for some time

Debts of £170 million

McColl’s had already been working with Morrisons, successfully converting 200 of its stores into Morrisons Daily shops.

On Monday 9th May 2022, with debts of £170 million, McColls was put into financial administration, which could have seen all 16,000 members of staff across the UK face redundancy, however shortly afterwards the administrators PwC announced that a buyer had been found.

“The deal successfully transfers all 16,000 staff”

PwC confirmed:

“On appointment, the joint administrators completed a sale of the business and assets of the group to Alliance Property Holdings Limited, part of the Morrisons Group, the group’s largest supplier.

“The deal successfully transfers all 16,000 staff, 1,100 shops across the UK and also includes Morrisons agreeing to rescue the group’s two pension schemes which have more than 2,000 members.”

It also said that the agreement would allow all the McColl’s stores to continue to trade as usual.

McColl's store in Swanage

McColls in Swanage occupies a prominent position on the corner of Institute Road and Station Road

“This transaction offers stability and continuity”

Morrisons’ chief executive, David Potts, said:

“Although we are disappointed that the business was put into administration, we believe this is a good outcome for McColl’s and all its stakeholders.

“This transaction offers stability and continuity for the McColl’s business and, in particular, a better outcome for its colleagues and pensioners.”

McColl's store in Swanage

The co-owners of Asda missed out on the takeover

Rival bid from the co-owners of Asda

It’s understood that Morrisons fought off a rival bid from the EG Group owned by the Issa brothers, who also co-own Asda.

The EG Group owns thousands of petrol stations and convenience shops in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Australia and the US.

Morrisons own brand convenience stores

The deal now allows Morrisons to continue to roll out its own brand convenience stores, which may mean that Swanage, a town with little supermarket competition, gets a third brand to choose from, alongside the Co-op and Budgens.

However in an earlier bid for McColls, Morisons only offered to keep the “vast majority” of the stores and staff, so while the short term future is secure for now, in the longer term Morrisons will have to decide how many stores it wishes to keep.

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