Majestic's cup runneth over with record profits

Majestic Wine must have made a substantial libation to Bacchus this year. The god of wine has granted them a 20% rise in first-half profits.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander

You know what they say about the British attitude to booze? It’s recession-proof. Had a good day? Let’s have a drink. A bad day? Let’s have a drink. Got a pay rise? Time to celebrate! Lost your job? Let’s commiserate – you guessed it – with a drink.

Perhaps this explains how Majestic Wines has defied market expectations to post a pretax profit of £8.8m in the 26 weeks to September 26, up from £7.3m last year.

This isn’t just the result of price rises, either; sales at the wine retailer are also up 8.7% to £127.8m. The chain, which currently runs 174 stores across the UK, has picked up custom from failed competitors Oddbins and First Quench Retailing, bumping up its active customer base by 7.7%.

Majestic Wine has made some smart changes to the business model over the past year. It ditched the 12-bottle minimum in-store purchase limit in favour of six bottles and invested in more premium wines as its target market became more sophisticated. These upmarket bottles fleshed out margins while differentiating its operation from the ‘budget booze’ line monopolised by supermarkets. ‘We are very well prepared for the important Christmas trading period,’ says chief executive Steve Lewis.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here


Call: 020 8267 8121



  • Up to 4 free articles a month
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Get 30 days free access

Sign up for a 30 day free trial and get:

  • Full access to
  • Exclusive event discounts
  • Management Today's print magazine

Join today