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Christmas sales growth at Virgin Wines below expectation

Published:  20 January, 2016

Virgin Wines posted sales growth of 12% over the six-week Christmas trading period, the online retailer has revealed.

The company sold 145,000 cases of wine and 11,500 gifts through its rebranded service.

The results are below expectations, however.

Jay Wright, chief executive of Virgin Wines, predicted in November that sales would grow 33% and the company would sell 40,000 more cases of wine than last Christmas.

The company reported December 2014 sales of 120,000 cases, up 20% year on year.

Prosecco was again a major success for the business, selling 51,000 bottles in December 2015, up from 38,000 the previous year.

Virgin Wines sold five times as many bottles of Prosecco as it did Champagne over Christmas.

A number of key investments across 2015 also paid off for the company.

The relaunched service, which aims to be the Interflora of wine, sold 11,500 gifts in December, up 130% on 2014.

The service was launched as Gifts By Virgin Wines in 2014, and was rebranded in autumn last year.

It offers next-day delivery on a range of exclusive gift-wrapped wines, Champagnes, craft beers and spirits.

Investment in the company's corporate sales division also reaped major rewards, with sales up 300% year-on-year.

Wright said: "The 2015 Christmas trading period has been exceptional, putting us in a very good position to support our three-year growth plan.

"We're particularly pleased with the performance of our newly revamped gifting service,, the strong increase of our corporate sales, and that over 30,000 new customers joined Virgin Wines at Christmas.

"Through a very busy period, our team has delivered outstanding levels of service. This combined with a stress-free shopping experience and interesting wine offering, has enabled us to achieve strong gross margin, ahead of budget."

The company brought in 80 temporary members of staff to meet the extra demand.

On its busiest day, November 25, it sold 150,000 bottles alone.