Majestic Wine has announced the retirement of its chief executive of the last 19 years.

The UK-based company said today (3 March) that Tim How intends to retire within the next year and will be replaced by the internal placement of Steve Lewis.

Lewis, who has held the role of COO for the past two years, joined the company 23 years ago as a graduate trainee manager before being promoted through the ranks via the role of retail manager, before being elected to the board in 1998, the company said.

Majestic chairman Simon Burke said: "Tim How has led Majestic from a small loss-making chain to the most successful independent wine retailer in Britain. Along the way he has created tremendous value for shareholders, acquired a loyal and dedicated customer following, and built a highly professional retail and management team. He has been a truly great chief executive and we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. We wish him a long, happy and prosperous retirement.

Lewis will take on the role after "an appropriate handover period," Burke added.

Last June, Majestic reported that pretax profit, for the 53 weeks to 2 April, was GBP16.2m (US$32.4m), up from GBP14.2m ($28.4m) the previous year. Like-for-like UK sales grew 4.9% over the period, driven by a 4.2% increase in average customer spend per transaction.