Convenience store retailer McColl's Retail Group booked a fall in first-half profit owing to lower margins in a 'highly competitive' market. Pre-tax profit for the six months through 26 May fell to £0.2m, down from £2.3m on-year. Revenue edged up 0.1% to £611.1m, while adjusted gross margin contracted to 25.4%, back from 26.1%. McColl's said the decline in its margin was moderating. The company declared an interim dividend of 1.3p per share, down from 3.4p on-year. 'The key priorities that we outlined for this year were to stabilise the business and to refocus on retail execution following a challenging 2018,' chief executive Jonathan Miller said. 'We have made good progress on both of these fronts whilst also maintaining strong capital discipline, reducing debt whilst sustaining appropriate levels of investment.' 'I am encouraged by the performance we have delivered as we regain greater operational stability, but we still have more work to do in the second half of the year.' 'The market remains highly competitive, with challenging trading conditions, given the unseasonable weather and uncertain economic climate.' 'Despite this, we expect to be broadly in line with expectations for the full year and we are confident that our strategy, combined with the cash generative and profitable nature of our business, will deliver sustainable returns for shareholders in the long term.'
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