Corks still popping at Majestic Wine

Corks still popping at Majestic Wine

Majestic Wine has shrugged off tough trading conditions in the UK wine market to report strong rises in sales and profits for its fiscal year.

Majestic's decision to halve its minimum purchase amount from 12 bottles to six has reaped dividends over the past six months, the wine warehouse chain said today (14 June).

This policy, plus the firm's acquisition of fine wine specialist Lay & Wheeler in March 2009, saw Majestic report net sales of GBP233.2m (US$340m) for the 12 months to 29 March, up 15.6% on the previous year.

Like-for-like store sales in the UK rose by 8% for the year as a higher volume of customers compensated for a 4% drop in average spend per purchase.

The figures will be a welcome boost for the UK wine trade, which has faced stern duty tax rises and foreign currency fluctuations amidst the backdrop of recession.
Majestic said net profits reached GBP11.3m, compared to GBP3.3m in a previous year hit by a GBP5.3m impairment charge on the group's French retail business.

"We are very encouraged by our ability to attract new customers which will allow us to continue to grow our market share," said Majestic CEO Steve Lewis. "While the UK economic outlook remains uncertain, we believe that Majestic is well positioned for future growth."

Online wine sales also performed strongly during the year, rising by almost a fifth to constitute one in ten bottles purchased from Majestic.