Majestic Wine has reported a 3% slip in sales in the last ten weeks, indicating a difficult Christmas trading period for wine retailers.

Majestic said today (8 January) that sales fell by 2.9% in the ten weeks from 28 October to 5 January.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: "We saw modest growth in sales to our private customers over the Christmas period. Sales to businesses, especially of Champagne, were down on last year as they continued to rein in their spending."

Majestic, which saw like-for-like sales fall 2% in its fiscal first half, ended 29 September, had warned that it expected a "challenging" Christmas period.

Its warning was echoed by others in the sector. Constellation Europe told just-drinks in December that it would be forced to cut around 50 jobs in the UK due to wine duty tax rises and a market that had fallen into "negative growth".

Industry sources have told just-drinks that further job losses loom across the UK wine sector in the coming months.