Majestic Wines looks to sell off UK retail business as online shift continues
Majestic Wines could sell off its entire UK retail business as it pivots to focus on its online wine seller brand Naked Wines.
Read more: British Land sells Sainsbury's superstores for £429m
The company’s board has appointed Rothschild bankers to explore a potential sale of its retail and commercial portfolio, which include around 200 stores.
City sources said the firm has been in touch with private equity firms to see if there is appetite for a potential takeover.
The appointment was first reported by Sky News.
A spokesperson for Majestic said a sale was “just one of a range of options we’re looking at”, ahead of an announcement in June about an exit plan for the retail arm of the business.
Majestic’s share price spiked on the news, rising to 250p, 4.7 per cent up on today’s opening price.
The UK’s largest specialist wine retailer said last month it would close stores and undergo a major rebranding under the Naked Wine brand which it acquired in 2015, as it sets its eyes on growth in the US amid growing challenges on the UK high street.
Chief executive Rowan Gormley then told City A.M.: “This is not a ‘Brexit means store closures story’ and there is also not a profit warning. This is a plan to accelerate the growth of Naked.”
Read more: Retail sales jump higher than expected in March
In November the retail giant posted a £200,000 loss in the half-year to October 2018, swinging from profits of £3.1m in the previous year. At the time the group also said that it was planning to stockpile more than 1m extra bottles of wine from Europe in response to fears over a no-deal Brexit.