You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Tuesday 30 June 2015

Baile: Back end “killed” Oddbins

27th July, 2011 by Lucy Shaw

Simon Baile has admitted it was the back end of the Oddbins business that “killed” the off-licence chain.

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business, the former managing director of the failed business said: “The shops weren’t the root cause of the problem; many things killed Oddbins.

“It was the back end of the business that ultimately killed it. Working with such low margins, it’s incredibly important you get that right. If you get that wrong it doesn’t matter what you do at the front.

“We had a lot of fixed term contracts and we couldn’t cover the costs.”

Oddbins went into administration in March this year with debts of over £20 million.

Baile admitted he has kept out of what’s been going on at the 37 remaining Oddbins stores over the past few months.

He is now busy developing a small chain of independent wine shops under the ExCellar name, having bought back five Oddbins stores from Deloitte in May to add to his existing four stores in London, Surrey and Paris.

“The shops still look a bit scratchy from the outside, but they’re open for business and we need to push on with the process,” Baile told db.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of staff post-debacle, but one person turned up and the news soon spread, so I’ve got a team of 20 together, made up mainly of ex-Oddbins staff, who are up for the challenge.”

As would be expected, it hasn’t been straightforward securing suppliers. “Some have been supportive, others less so – they know who they are,” Baile said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and Christmas. We’ll keep on as best we can but it’s going to be tricky.”

Reaction to his latest venture has been mixed. “Some have called me mad and others have wished me well,” Baile said. “I firmly believe what we were trying to do at Oddbins was the right thing. I’m focused on what I need to do now.”

Despite Oddbins’ demise, Baile remains positive about the future of wine on the high street: “I’m passionate about high street retail,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with having a site on a high street.

“A few bombs have gone off in the trade, which has fragmented it. It’s a very interesting time – the best time in the trade for a while.”

For more on high street wine retail, look out for the August issue of the drinks business

6 Responses to “Baile: Back end “killed” Oddbins”

  1. odd net says:

    As MD, shouldn’t SB have been looking after the “back end”? Is this an acceptance that he personally got it so very wrong and put so many staff out of work? If so, this doesn’t bode that well for his remaining business interests.

    Ex colleagues at Oddbins are not exactly clamouring to work for Mr Baile so the impression that people are knocking at his door is somewhat wide of the mark. Those people that Odd Net have been in touch with have simply had to be pragmatic. They have bills to pay and unlike some people, plan to pay them, therefore they have to take whatever job they can get.

    Any bets on how many of the Ex-Cellar stores are still trading in January?

  2. Jim,Chelsea says:

    Baile is living in dream world ! To continue to place/take orders from supliers when you know there is no way of paying for them is unforgivable, not to mention unethical and possibly illegal ! That this man can continue to trade is a joke and the fact he feels lofty enough to say to suppliers who won’t trade “you know who you are” -sums up the giant ego ! They know who they are and i would imagine are very proud to have kicked you to touch ! Ex-cellars is an ex-business !

  3. Irishdids says:

    Whilst I appauld Mr Baille’s tacit acceptance that he cocked up with his running of Oddbins, I am amazed at the pig ignorance of him taking forward the exact same business model into his new venture. His goading of suppliers reluctance of wanting to supply him just shows the hack of the man, that he expects others to provide a living for him. Rather than him roll up his sleeves and get mucky and take some risks himself. He lost nothing and personally gained out of the demise of Oddbins with the expansion of his existing venture in ex Cellars.

  4. Christopher says:

    The contempt for suppliers seems to know no bounds. Bailes comments are arrogant. It’s highly likely it’s not just Oddbins staff who have lost their jobs. What’s with the article picture. What is he celebrating? Drinks Business, have some tact please. This is an old pic. How about a suitably remorseful portrait, debtors list in hand.

  5. Simone Jung says:

    There were many many reasons Oddbins failed, quite a lot of them to do with rubbish decisions made by Simon Baile. The biggest of these was trying to run a large chain without any money. Funny how the big players declined to give him stock for nothing – this was always dressed up in PR flim-flam, eg the nonsense about how we only “wanted” to stock champagne from small producers. Sending the would-be customers who wanted a case of Veuve packing was always good morale-boosting fun.

    I recommend people pop their heads around the door of the ex-Oddbins now “Ex Cellar” branch on Farringdon Street, full of ex-Oddbins wines and ex-Oddbins employees. You can almost taste the self-loathing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

World's most extravagant wineries

With Château Margaux preparing to unveil its new winery and cellar, designed more...

Top 10 new products

This month's top releases include a Champagne tankard designed by Pol Roger, more...

10 richest people in the UK drinks trade

As The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 reveals the wealthiest individuals in more...

Head of On-Trade Sales

London, United Kingdom

How to become a 'wine expert' in four hours

A doctor of psychology has devised 10 simple steps which he claims can set you more...

The London Wine Fair in pictures

From red trews and foie gras macaroons to 2CVs, wine on tap and temporary more...

Suntory's exquisite 3D-printed ice cubes

As far as advertising campaigns go, this collection of miniature ice cube more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

Oddbins woos Naked staff with love letters

Oddbins has allegedly been sending love letters and bottles of wine to key more...

Top 10 banned alcoholic drinks

The drinks trade has seen its fair share of drinks banned from public more...

Top 10 architectural wonders of the wine world

You don't have to look far to find stunning examples of architectural prowess more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

8 things you should know about Prosecco

With Prosecco currently breaking sales records left, right and centre, we round more...

Tesco sales take a tumble despite price cuts

Tesco's like-for-like sales fell by 1.3% in the three months to 30 May, an more...

Top 10 wine brands 2015

In a year that saw major shifts in the global wine market, the drinks business more...

Business Development Executive

London, United Kingdom

£25-£30K + benefits, depending on experience

Top 10 modern wine drinker stereotypes

From Rioja lovers to Champagne quaffers, the drinks business has more...

Whisky has 'regained its attractiveness'

Scotch whisky is moving beyond its traditional consumer base and has "regained more...

Rémy Cointreau in mood for acquisitions

French spirits producer Rémy Cointreau has said it is open to acquiring new more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Top 12 Australian fine wines

Australian fine wines have made the headlines of late. But what are the names more...

Top 10 worst estates for en primeur returns

Using Liv-ex's data, db rounds up the worst 10 châteaux for en primeur more...

Top 10 estates for en primeur returns

db rounds up the 10 best Bordeaux estates for en primeur returns on more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Top 10 Negroni spots in London

As the Campari Red Night District takes over London's Shoreditch, we round up more...

Top 10 ways to reuse a wine bottle

If you are anything like the db team, it won't take long to amass a collection more...