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Oddbins bounces back with double-digit rise in sales

Published:  09 April, 2010

Oddbins has released a strong set of first quarter figures which show double-digit retail sales growth over the last 10 weeks.

Simon Baile, co-owner and managing director, said footfall was up 5% and average basket price sales were up 8%. Its online sales were even more striking up 38% with strong expectations that this could rise to 50% when the site is relaunched later in 2010. "We are seeing a significant increase in online activity as becomes more focused and more specialized in the products it offers and we see this as a unique proposition in the marketplace," said Baile.

In a statement Oddbins said: "It seems all too recent that the air was thick with gloomy predictions about the imminent demise of Oddbins and journalists were sounding the death knell for High Street wine retail. Consumers didn't know which off-licence chains had closed and which ones were still open.....

"Fast forward to Spring 2010 and, happily, these depressing images of an ailing Oddbins can be well and truly consigned to the spittoon."

It claimed the chain is now experiencing its longest sustained period of growth since 2004.

Over the past 18 months Oddbins said it has concentrated on buying an increasing number of wines from smaller, family-oriented producers, an approach Baile attributed to some of its new success and is in contrast, it stressed to what is going on in the rest of the trade. Baile explained: "This is particularly true in the Champagne category, as although sales are obviously driven by some of the key names, the introduction of unique grower Champagnes from smaller, quality-focused houses such as Drappier, De Carnot and Déhu has had a profound impact on sales figures. In the last  10 weeks Champagne sales at Oddbins have risen by a healthy 12.5% and we predict that this level of performance will continue throughout 2010."

The last 18 months has also seen and extensive review of its French, Spanish, Italian, Australian and New Zealand ranges bringing in a greater number of parcels and wines made by smaller independent producers.


In the last 10 weeks Oddbins has seen Spain up by 68.3%, Italy up by 15.3% and an increase of 18.6% in the French category as a whole. Sales of red Bordeaux and white Burgundy are up 58.6% and 23% respectively on last year, while sales of red Burgundy have risen by 49.1%. The Rhône is up 40.9% and the Loire 49.6% over the past 10 weeks.

Head buyer Richard Verney said: "We're delighted with the support we're getting from all our UK and international suppliers: they have delivered some truly exciting wines to us which we believe are making our range one of the most interesting and diverse in the UK and it appears that suppliers and customers alike are now recognising the key role which Oddbins plays in the UK wine scene. We feel we have made good progress in taking the range forward to a point where it truly wows and stuns at every turn and we now hope to be defining rather than following the trends."

One such move is the introduction of futuristic-looking Pod Bars in selected stores which allow staff to conduct spontaneous wine-by-the-glass tastings for customers. These temperature-controlled cabinets can hold up to 10 bottles of wine, and allow both still and sparkling wines to be opened, re-sealed and kept in mint condition for up to three weeks. Oddbins Chairman Henry Young said:  "We are currently trialling Pod Bars - or 'Odd Pods' as we now call them - in three of our flagship stores and if they prove successful, they will then be rolled out to the rest of the Oddbins estate. These wine-by-the-glass cabinets not only enable customers to try before they buy, but also act as a fantastic sales tool for staff to show consumers some of the more esoteric or high value wines which they are particularly passionate about recommending."


Looking ahead Baile said: "We are increasingly excited about the opportunity which now exists in the UK independent trade and see Oddbins as the leading light of High Street wine retail. The strategy for 2010 onwards will continually focus on small growers and the quality of the product. We see all the staff in Oddbins as an integral part of the company's future success and firmly believe that passion and integrity in everything we do, both now and in the future, are essential to Oddbins' continued growth."