McColls to the Wall. Another One Bites the Dust

UK Retail Chain in Administration

Chris Welsby
3 min readMay 9, 2022


Image by johnny’s_pic on Pixabay

McColls is a long-established grocery chain now in Administration. Another Covid casualty. Supermarkets and Convenience Stores have had a troubled time over the last few years.

McColls were busy taking over Co-op stores only a few years ago, but following crisis talks with supermarket giants Morrisons, have themselves recently been trading as “Morrison’s Daily” stores in an attempt to balance the books.

McColls started life with one shop in Glasgow founded by Robert Smyth McColl and his brother Tom in 1901.

R.S.McColl was a professional footballer in England with Newcastle United, and it was his wages and signing-on fee that paid for the first shop and the subsequent expansion.

McColl was no mean player. His International record for Scotland reads an impressive 13 goals in 13 games. In Scottish football he played for Queens Park and Glasgow Rangers, hanging his boots up at age 36 to concentrate on his business, after a stint in the forces during the First World War.

Big Business eventually took over from the family and McColls grew to over 1200 shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales. With amalgamations and takeovers, the company has been sliced and diced and re-shaped many times over the last few years.

If McColls has had one major problem, it is that it has suffered from a lack of identity as shopping habits have changed.

Historically corner shops and convenience stores were meeting places, part of daily life for many. Supermarkets and bigger stores were more practical and impersonal, without the banter, but with cheaper prices.

McColls was somewhere in the middle. A corner shop but with no specific customer focus. Even the re-branding as Morrisons’ Daily didn’t achieve any warmth.

Morrisons re-fitted the shops, changed the signage, and installed bright new shelves and lighting. They changed the shop workers’ uniforms, but couldn’t change the “we don’t really care” look on the faces.

With no customer focus, and with recent financial problems and delivery issues, the situation was only getting worse.



Chris Welsby

Just passing through….writing about Internet Marketing, Life, Health, and crafting Short Stories about Relationships. Lives in North West England.