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Majestic acquires Vagabond Wines

Published:  05 April, 2024

Wine retailer Majestic has bought Vagabond Wines after the business went into administration last month.

The acquisition will save nine of Vagabond's 12 wine bars from closure with ambitions to open more sites in the future. However, the deal with Majestic excludes Vagabond sites at Gatwick Airport and Canary Wharf. The joint administrators will continue to trade operations at Gatwick whilst they progress discussions with a range of stakeholders and interested parties. Operations at Canary Wharf will cease shortly, with all staff to be redeployed at other locations.

According to Majestic, the partnership will further support the retailer’s growth strategy by building on its existing customer base and allowing it to engage with a younger demographic of wine consumers in the on-trade.

The Vagabond deal represents another vote of confidence from Majestic and its investor, Fortress Investment Group, in the future of experiential retail and hospitality offerings. Since Fortress acquired it in December 2019, Majestic has opened 16 new stores and supplied thousands of hospitality venues through its B2B division, Majestic Commercial.  

During the first half of the 2023/24 financial year, Majestic’s wholesale arm supplied more than 300 new pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels across the UK as part of its ambition to become one of the biggest on-trade suppliers in the nation.

Majestic Commercial already supplies more than 3,000 venues across the country, with high-profile partners including Manchester City Football Club, The Lucia Group, Deben Inns, London Shuffle Club and JCB Golf and Country Club.   

Majestic CEO John Colley said: “We are delighted to have secured this partnership with Vagabond Wines and are looking forward to working with the team to share our collective passion, expertise and love of wine. The completion of this deal marks the start of a long-term partnership and we are committed to investing in the Vagabond business, with the potential to open new wine bars across the UK when the right opportunities arise.

“The combination of the two businesses presents exciting new opportunities for us to grow our customer base, take the Majestic brand to a younger audience and further elevate Vagabond’s product proposition by working alongside our fast-growing on-trade supply division, Majestic Commercial.”

Vagabond was founded as a single wine shop in Fulham in 2010 and has since grown into a chain of ‘self-pour’ wine bars focused on discovery and experience. Its bars offer more than 100 wines by the glass, which customers order using tap-and-pour machines.

Vagabond MD Matt Fleming added: “In Majestic, we believe we have found the perfect partner to enhance the unique strengths of the Vagabond business and drive a new phase of profitable growth. Vagabond’s bars help our customers discover unique, quality wines in a highly experiential setting – values that align perfectly with what Majestic’s colleagues do every single day in their stores.

“We are looking forward to working with the Majestic team to accelerate our expansion, and help even more wine consumers to discover new and interesting wines.”