Simon Baile has admitted it was the back end of the Oddbins business that â€œkilledâ€ the off-licence chain.
Speaking exclusively to the drinks business, the former managing director of the failed business said: â€œThe shops werenâ€™t the root cause of the problem; many things killed Oddbins.
â€œIt was the back end of the business that ultimately killed it. Working with such low margins, itâ€™s incredibly important you get that right. If you get that wrong it doesnâ€™t matter what you do at the front.
â€œWe had a lot of fixed term contracts and we couldnâ€™t cover the costs.â€
Oddbins went into administration in March this year with debts of over Â£20 million.
Baile admitted he has kept out of whatâ€™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.
â€œThe shops still look a bit scratchy from the outside, but theyâ€™re open for business and we need to push on with the process,â€ Baile told db.
â€œI wasnâ€™t sure what to expect in terms of staff post-debacle, but one person turned up and the news soon spread, so Iâ€™ve got a team of 20 together, made up mainly of ex-Oddbins staff, who are up for the challenge.â€
As would be expected, it hasnâ€™t been straightforward securing suppliers. â€œSome have been supportive, others less so â€“ they know who they are,â€ Baile said.
â€œWeâ€™ve got a lot of work to do between now and Christmas. Weâ€™ll keep on as best we can but itâ€™s going to be tricky.â€
Reaction to his latest venture has been mixed. â€œSome have called me mad and others have wished me well,â€ Baile said. â€œI firmly believe what we were trying to do at Oddbins was the right thing. Iâ€™m focused on what I need to do now.â€
Despite Oddbinsâ€™ demise, Baile remains positive about the future of wine on the high street: â€œIâ€™m passionate about high street retail,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s nothing wrong with having a site on a high street.
â€œA few bombs have gone off in the trade, which has fragmented it. Itâ€™s a very interesting time â€“ the best time in the trade for a while.â€
For more on high street wine retail, look out for the August issue of the drinks business