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
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

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.

A toast to Majestic for a sterling performance in these straitened times, after all ‘When there is plenty of wine, sorrow and worry take wing’ as Ovid put it. So it's not just the Brits who like a drink...

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Leading from a distance: Remote working for the C-suite

Leadership lessons video panel: Chris Hirst, CEO of Havas Creative; Matt Peers, COO of Linklaters;...

There’s little point saving your business if you let your market die

Opinion: The nature of the coronavirus pandemic demands we look out for each other.

C-suite and furloughed

Use this as an opportunity to take a breath and get some perspective, says this...

Books for CEOs: Daniel Goleman, Jack Welch, Nelson Mandela

Beaverbrooks CEO Anna Blackburn shares her reading list.

What happens next: COVID-19 lessons from Italian CEOs

Part I: Marco Alvera, chief executive of €15bn Lombardy-based energy firm Snam, on living with...

Coronavirus communications: Dos and don'ts

Uncertainty and isolation make it more important than ever to be seen, to be heard...