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Fine wine helps Majestic sales growth

Published:  23 July, 2008

Majestic Wine has sailed through a difficult trading period with its overall sales up 2.4% for the first half of the year.

The UK's largest wine warehouse group said it plans to create specialist fine wine display areas in 38 stores by Christmas, to take advantage of the good growth - at 17.5% - in sales of wines priced at 20 or more.

Majestic, which has 136 stores throughout Britain, said although it is well prepared for the important Christmas trading period ahead, it still expects the trading environment to continue to be challenging.

The group's chairman Simon Burke said that Majestic had experienced an unusual sales pattern in the first six months to October 1.

He said: "Sales were good until mid-June but then slowed until the end of July as we endured a prolonged period of unseasonably cold and wet weather.

"Trading strengthened from the beginning of August as customers responded to additional promotional activity."

Like-for-like sales during October were up 2.2% on the previous year, while the average spend per transaction has risen to 128, up on 121 last year.

The group said it had also seen website orders jump 22% in the six month period, and is pleased with the initial response to the re-launch of its website that took place last month.

Majestic said it saw good growth in sales of wine from Bordeaux and Beaujolais in France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Argentina. Sales of Champagne and rose also grew well. The average bottle price of wine bought at Majestic is now 5.85, up from 5.66 last year.

The group reported a 16.7% rise in pre-tax profits to 7.5million, up from 6.5m compared to last year, on total sales of 91m - up from 88.3m in 2006.