British bubbles help Majestic toast profit rise

Sales of English sparkling wine at Majestic Wine 'significantly increased' over the last year, although the wine warehouse retailer saw a dip in sales overall.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 18 Nov 2013
After a turbulent year, pre-tax profits at wine warehouse retailer Majestic Wine edged up £0.5m to £23.7m over the year to the beginning of April – despite a slide in total sales overall, which slipped 2.1% to £274.4m.

Majestic Wine, which has 193 stores across the UK, said consumers are showing more resilience to paying more for an expensive bottle. Sales of fine wine, priced at more than £20 a bottle, increased by 9.4% on last year, and there was a 'significant' increase of English sparkling wine sales, the company said in its a annual trading update.

Majestic Wine has had a mixed year. The washout summer last year and the distraction of the Olympics weighed on sales at the UK's largest wine retailer, as the wet weather put a dampener on outdoor events and parties. The company had expected a boost in sales over the Olympics, but the Games failed to deliver. 'The Olympics was a triumph for the UK, but a huge distraction for everyone else,' CEO Steve Lewis said in October when the company reported its half-year financial results.

However Majestic Wine benefited from a boost in customers, which rose by 56,000 to 624,000 during the year, while the average spend on a bottle of wine rose from £7.34 to £7.56.

Online sales also rose significantly, jumping by 14.7% in the last year and its internet business now accounts for 11.1% of total sales. But the firm isn't shutting up shop just yet. Majestic Wine said it will continue to focus on opening new stores - it opened 16 new stores last year and expects to open a similar number this year.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming Events

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today