Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Felix Solis UK toasts sales rise of 28% in first year as standalone firm

Published:  04 February, 2015

The UK arm of Spanish wine company Felix Solis is toasting a cracking first year as a standalone company as its sales have soared 28% in the last 12 months.

Felix Solis wines were distributed by Free Run Wines in the UK until November 2013, when the Spanish firm decided it wanted to be responsible for its own UK distribution.

Richard CochraneUnder Richard Cochrane’s direction, sales at Felix Solis UK have grown 28%

Richard Cochrane, general manager of Felix Solis UK, told "Our UK business has grown 28% in the last year, as the Spanish sector has declined 8%. We've seen growth in the big on and off-trade retailers - it's at just over 30% in the on-trade. The opportunities are there but it is challenging in any year. We have to consider what it is the shopper really wants and why, then work closely with our customer base to deliver that."

He said a lot of its growth was coming from innovation and new product development. "We have a very clear understanding of what [a product] will do for [a retailer's] business. Business is about managing risk and NPD pushes up risk. If you can de-risk it, that's helpful."

Felix Solis's UK office has been up and running since November 2013, and January 2014 saw it take over all trade accounts. With just six staff, including Cochrane, it makes for a "very light, agile model" that is well-connected with its customers, Cochrane maintains.

Felix Solis

He said he was "pleased with Christmas 2014 as the year finished up well" with both promotional and non-promotional products doing well, such as its Pagos del Rey brand.

Speaking of the changes in the off-trade market, particularly as grocers look to trim ranges, Cochrane said key suppliers are taking on an "ever more important role".

Felix Solis owns a host of vineyards across Spain: in Valdepeñas, La Mancha, Rueda, Toro, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. It produces more than 280 million bottles of wine per year and is looking to buy a winery in Chile.

Its portfolio includes well-known brands Castillo de Albai and Viña Albali - the UK's number one Spanish wine in the off-trade. It also supplies exclusive and own-label brands to the major multiples and exclusive brands to the on-trade, including to Matthew Clark.