Morrisons rescues McColl’s taking on all 16,000 staff

The McColl's shop in Caol Shopping Square. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F19 MColls Caol 01
The McColl's shop in Caol Shopping Square. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO F19 MColls Caol 01

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Supermarket group Morrisons has won a battle to rescue McColl’s, the newsagent chain with 1,400 convenience stores, including in Oban, Caol, and Ardrishaig, and taken on all 16,000 staff members.

Morrisons beat a rival offer from EG Group, the petrol station empire, owned by the billionaire Issa brothers.

Morrisons will pay off McColl’s £170million debts and take on its 1,160 shops and pension schemes, with 2,000 members.

The supermarket’s boss said the deal offered stability and continuity for the business, its staff and pensioners.

McColl’s was put into administration by PwC on Monday and was immediately sold to Morrisons.

McColl’s had said the company’s lenders did not want to extend banking agreements that were keeping the business going.

A spokesperson for Caol Community Council told the Lochaber Times this week: ‘Pleased to see that local shop will continue on. Good that staff been given good news, and hopefully both they, and the whole community, will benefit from the takeover.’

David Potts, Morrisons chief executive, said: ‘Although we are disappointed 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.

‘We all look forward to welcoming many new colleagues into the Morrisons business.’

Rob Lewis, joint administrator and partner, PwC, said: ‘Especially during the current economic climate, the completion of this transaction provides much needed certainty to McColl’s 16,000 staff after a period of understandable concern following the group’s challenges over the past months.

‘As well as saving thousands of jobs, this deal secures a platform for the trustees of the group’s pension schemes to enter into arrangements which will protect the pensions entitlements of so many people. All in all, a really positive outcome.’