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Majestic sees profits jump

Marion Dakers
WINE retailer Majestic was toasting a rise in full-year profits yesterday, after small-budget customers with a penchant for guzzling sparkling wine helped boost its profits.

The wine retailer made a pre-tax profit of £16m in the 12 months to 29 March, up from £7.4m a year earlier.

And The company has seen its customer base increase by almost eight per cent since reducing its minimum purchase from 12 to six bottles.

Buyers are spending less per transaction on average, down four per cent to £129. But by shopping more often at the group’s 150 wine warehouses and Lay & Wheeler branches they pushed total sales up 16 per cent to £233m.

The retailer has also enjoyed near- 20 per cent growth online this year. One in ten sales now take place through the firm’s website.

Customers have developed a taste for New World wines, especially those from New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. The company said that sales of sparkling wine have seen “very encouraging growth”.

The firm has opened six new stores this year, to benefit from rivals Threshers and Wine Rack closing at the end of 2009.

Simon Burke, who is stepping down as the firm’s chairman in August, said the results were encouraging. He said: “While the UK economic outlook remains uncertain, we believe Majestic is well-positioned for future growth.”