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Majestic Wine appoints former Tesco BWS director Robert Cooke

Published:  13 June, 2019

Majestic has appointed former Tesco BWS director Robert Cooke as its buying & merchandising director, Harpers can reveal.

Robert Cooke was brought onboard in April to help the business “find the best way to move forward from here”, managing director of Majestic Wine, Joshua Lincoln, told Harpers.

Cooke headed up the Tesco wine team for less than two years after replacing Gavin Warburton in September 2017. His immediate focus in his new role was to carry out “a full review” of how Majestic Wine “buy, what we buy, pricing structure and everything relating to that”, said Lincoln, adding Cooke brought a “wealth of experience” with him.

“Cooke sees a lot of potential to cement Majestic Wine’s reputation as a key specialist wine retailer in the UK and we are very excited to have him onboard.”

The appointment comes as the Majestic Group gears up to split its business - it confirmed this morning that it is in “advanced talks over a potential sale of its retail and commercial outlets”, with the group operating as separate businesses from today, confirmed Lincoln.

The plan was to sell the retail and commercial outlets, rumoured to be on the market for £100m, to one buyer, who was expected to carry on running the business as ‘Majestic Wine’, said Lincoln, adding there were no plans to convert any stores under the Naked arm. 

The sale update was made as the retailer posted a 6.3% increase in group sales to £506.1m for the full year to April 2019.

It recorded a pre-tax group loss of £8.5m compared to a £8.3m profit last year, reflecting the significant investment made in its online Naked Wines business, where sales were up 14.5% against a slight 1.5% increase at Majestic Retail.