Majestic bucks bad weather to post profit rise

Kasmira Jefford
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MAJESTIC Wine yesterday shrugged off a summer of bad weather and economic uncertainty, as it posted a rise in first half revenue and profits.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said the wash-out summer prompted organisers of fundraisers and sporting events to cancel or return wines while consumers took a raincheck on barbecues.

“The test is always how many barbecues [my family] had and that was two,” Lewis said, adding that the bad weather also led to red wine outselling white wine, typically more popular during the summer period.

The wine specialist reported a 3.9 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £9.2m in the six months to 1 October, with like for like sales in UK retail stores up 0.6 per cent.

Online sales jumped by 14 per cent on last year, which Lewis attributed to the group’s decision to drop the minimum online order from 12 bottles to six in June.

Online sales now represent 9.8 per cent of UK retail sales.

The retailer also opened nine new stores in period and two in September, bringing the total number of stores to 189.

The group is also embarking on a new advertising campaign after investing around £900m in the first half, with little effect. Lewis said the result of two campaigns at Christmas last year and the Jubilee “were promising but not compelling” and said this year’s Christmas advert will be supported by promotions in-store.