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Sainsbury's and Oddbins team up

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

Sainsbury's and Oddbins have formed a ground-breaking, joint-venture company to sell wine via mail order and the Internet. The as-yet unnamed company will begin trading in February or March next year and will concentrate on wines over 4. "It won't be called Sainsbins or Oddbury's," Allan Cheesman, director of wine at Sainsbury's, told Harpers. "But we don't want to lose sight of the parent brands." The joint venture will run alongside both retailers' existing businesses and will sell a range of 3,000 wines, 60% of which will be new to both parties. Initially, the wines will be offered via mail order, digital and analogue television and over the Internet, but selected pre-mixed cases will also be available in Sainsbury's and Oddbins stores. Richard Macadam, managing director of Oddbins, said that: "This pioneering venture will allow us to go one step further, using all direct-to-consumer channels in order to enhance the shopping experience and benefits to our customers. Buying direct will never be the same again." Cheesman ruled out the possibility of Sainsbury's buying Oddbins outright once the on-going struggle for the Seagram's drinks business is over. Nevertheless, he added that in markets, such as Northern Ireland, where the two companies were not in direct competition in the high street, Sainsbury's would consider stocking a range of Oddbins wines. "I've learnt after all my years in the business that never is a word you should never use," said Cheesman.