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Majestic targets ‘ambitious’ growth as it completes sale to Fortress

Published:  11 December, 2019

Majestic this morning confirmed that it will keep all of its 190 stores, as it completed its £95m sale to US investment group Fortress.

Under the company’s previous ownership there were plans in place to close as many as 140 stores, cutting the estate by almost two thirds.

On the back of the sale, which was completed with funds managed by affiliates of Fortress, Majestic said it was targeting “further ambitious growth” for the 40-year-old brand.

The key to Majestic’s growth was “simple”, said newly appointed boss John Colley, who rejoined the company as it entered its new ownership having left the business two and half years ago.

“It’s the service our people provide, backed up by a range you simply cannot get anywhere else. That connection isn’t what it should be - so we need to get the wines back in that our customers (and staff) love first. That isn’t rocket science. Customers enjoy the connection to Majestic - to our wines, to our people and to our stores. We want to look at ways we can grow that connection further and not peel it back. That means bricks, clicks and flicks."

Fortress and I see a “huge opportunity” in the UK over the next few years, and see Majestic as perfectly placed to take advantage, he added.

“This is a fantastic country to sell wine in - the number one trading nation for vino in the world. And it needs Majestic at its heart,” he said.

The first step, he added, was making sure the stores were filled with the right wines for this Christmas, including an extra 2 million bottle stockpile brought in for Brexit.

The company is also asking all customers, old and new, to send in requests with the wines they want to see on shelves as it vows to bring back favourites lost to in recent years.

Majestic, which employs more than 1,000 staff and had annual sales of more than £300m last year, also unveiled its first new store for over two years - at a site in Blackheath, South London. 

Speaking about which drinks he expected to be big this Christmas, Colley said: “English sparkling wine just continues to power on. I predict there’ll be record numbers of English corks being popped this December. And as a bit of a dark horse, look out for Austria - particularly its whites. Our sales are up over 70% year on year."