Cloud over Lancashire McColl’s stores as firm confirms it has fallen into administration

Lancashire shop workers could face redundancy after McColl’s bosses confirmed the business has gone into administration.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 6th May 2022, 10:47 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 2:49 pm

The convenience store business has been in discussions with potential lenders to shore up the business, which struggled badly during the pandemic due to supply chain issues, inflation and a heavy debt burden.

It held talks with its lenders on Friday morning but failed to reach agreement. Supermarket giant Morrisons, which is a major wholesale partner, also tried a last-ditch effort to buy the business.

The business has some 16,000 employees, the majority of whom are part-time.

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McColl's bosses have said the firm is now in administration putting the future of retail jobs across Lancashire under threat

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The company will now appoint administrators from PwC in an effort to “preserve the future of the business and to protect the interests of employees”.

The company said it hopes that the administrators will help to “implement a sale of the business to a third-party purchaser as soon as possible”.

It is understood that Morrisons is still interested in a takeover, while Sky News has reported that forecourt giant EG Group, owned by Lancashire billionaires the Issa brothers, is interested in a deal.

McColl's has said administration could see parts of the business sold off

A spokesman for the trustee of the McColl’s Pension Schemes warned staff could miss out on payments following administration and urged any new owner to protect the schemes.

The said: “The pension schemes are significant stakeholders in the company, and the trustees call on all potential bidders to make clear that they will respect the pension promises made to the 2,000 members by McColl’s and its subsidiaries, and will not seek to break the link between the schemes and the company.

“Breaking the link between the schemes and the sponsor company, by way of a pre-pack administration, would represent a serious breach of the pension promises made to staff who have served the business loyally over many years, and risks causing the schemes to enter the Pension Protection Fund with a resulting reduction in benefits.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed the group was set to have its shares suspended from the London Stock Exchange as bosses said they would be unable to get its accounts signed off by auditors in time.

The group runs more than 1,100 convenience shops across England, Scotland and Wales including more than 20 local shops in central Lancashire and the Fylde.

Around 200 of its stores trade under the Morrisons Daily brand, and in November last year, McColl's announced that it would expand the number of Morrisons Daily conversions from 350 to 450 within a year.