Majestic sees wine sales up in festive lift

MAJESTIC Wine has bucked the trend of retailers turning in poor results figures over the snow-hit Christmas period with a 6.4 per cent sales rise.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said the weather had initially put customers off venturing out but then there had been a rush.

The figures for the nine weeks to 3 January followed a year of expansion for the company.

Majestic is delaying the VAT rise until the end of this month in another attempt to help reel in customers in a month where alcohol sales are traditionally low after the festive binge.

Lewis said: “We are pleased with the figures. After a slow start things came good. We are opening new shops this year and are ambitious about the business.

“We will be debt neutral by the end of the financial year.”

The retailer, which has 160 shops, is planning to open 12 new shops in 2011.

Comparable sales during the half-year rose 7.6 per cent, while interim pre-tax profits increased by 20 per cent to £7.3m.

In a bid to boost sales, the company reduced the number of bottles required for a discount from 12 to six in September 2009 to reflect the UK’s mood of austerity.