Britons' thirst for prosecco gets sales fizzing at Virgin Wines

 
Kasmira Jefford
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Virgin Wines 11,500 and 145,000 case of wine over the festive period (Source: Getty)

Virgin Wines has posted its strongest Christmas on record after sales of prosecco bubbled over to replace champagne as the fizz of choice over Christmas and New Year.

The online wine retailer said it sold 51,000 bottles of prosecco in December alone compared with 38,000 in 2014, which was five times the number of champagne bottles sold.

The success of the Italian bubbly helped contribute to a 12 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the six weeks to 2 January.

Gifts, such as wrapped wines and craft beers, also performed well – up 130 per cent year-on-year – while customers also snapped up 145,000 cases of wine.

Virgin Wines was set up by Majestic chief executive and Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley and was originally called Orgasm Wines before being sold to Sir Richard Branson in 2000.

It became part of Direct Wines in 2005 but changed hands again eight years later when private equity groups Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital backed a £14m management buyout led by chief executive Jay Wright.

The group delivered a £4.3m profit and a turnover of £40m in its last financial year to July 2015.

Wright said: “The 2015 Christmas trading period has been exceptional, putting us in a very good position to support our three-year growth plan.”

“We’re particularly pleased with the performance of our newly revamped gifting service, Sendagift.co.uk, the strong increase of our corporate sales, and that over 30,000 new customers joined Virgin Wines at Christmas."

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