Lot18 closes UK operation

18th July, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

New York-based online wine merchant Lot18 has closed its UK operation just four months after launching.

Lot18 founder Philip James with the UK team: Will Armitage, Rodolphe Boulanger and Gus Danowski at the Lot18 UK launch in March

The members-only website will shut its London office on Friday and will suspend all UK operations at the end of July.

In a statement issued by the company, the closure was blamed on the dominance of supermarkets in the UK.

“Lot 18 has decided to close its operations in the UK at the end of this week.

“Unfortunately, the supermarkets’ stranglehold on the UK market proved too powerful for us to compete with and we have not experienced the anticipated growth rate,” it said.

Supermarkets account for 80% of the UK wine market and have recently expanded online.

“Lot18 has just under one million members and just sold its millionth bottle,” the statement added.

Six full-time employees will lose their jobs as a result of the London closure.

Lot18’s New York office made 10 employees redundant in early June. The company also recently closed its food division, Lot18 Gourmet, and its food and wine-themed excursion business, Lot18 Experiences.

The London branch opened on 2 March, with general manager for Europe, Will Armitage, saying the firm hoped to recruit a million members in the UK alone.

Founded in November 2010 by Philip James, founder of wine ratings and reviews site Snooth.com, the company raised US$45m in venture capital funding last year.

Lot18 reportedly generated US$25m in sales in 2011 and was expecting that figure to double in 2012. The company will remain active elsewhere in Europe, South America and Australia.

Lot18 sources fine and rare wines worldwide for limited-time offers, which typically last only 48 hours. The company specialises in sourcing difficult-to-find parcels and rare single bottles.

7 Responses to “Lot18 closes UK operation”

  1. Matt says:

    How strange – I recieved an email inviting me to join this ‘exclusive wine club’ this morning and on checking it out thought it was a well-presented, good idea. It just goes to show how the dominant mind-set of average UK wine shoppers are steeped in the obsession with faux-discount supermarket wines. It worries me that unless you have 50%+ discounts to offer on a regular basis that volume sales are not there for the taking. What ever happened to getting what you pay for?

  2. Dom says:

    I had never heard of these guys!

  3. Tony says:

    considering their target audience were hardly supermarket buyers, I suspect the issue was slightly different. It’s a shame about UK Lot 18 – a nice idea but maybe a bit ambitious

  4. Big shame to hear about this. Lot 18 probably had the wrong business model for the challenging UK wine market. In addition, let’s face it we’re still in a global recession too and when the supermarkets have an 80% stranglehold on wine consumers you’re always going to end up losing.

  5. Paco says:

    Their raison d’être was not to compete with supermarkets and to ‘invite’ high net worth individuals to join. Completely and totally arrogant and clueless. One million members? Highly unlikely. It beggars belief that they could have raised such VC sums, but then again when you look at the incompetents in the the financial world, then it’s no wonder.

  6. Judy B says:

    Am I the only one left to wonder …. didn’t they thoroughly research the UK market before spending huge amounts of their investors’ money on penetrating it ?? If they had, they would surely have segmented their market and had a fairly clear understanding of what would, and wouldn’t, scale in the UK, as compared to their NYC operation.work It’s all a bit baffling, frankly …

  7. Don Jaime says:

    No big surprise here. These people are really good at talking investors out of their money. What will really surprise me is if they will be in business this time next year. The wine biz is a real grind, and the only fast money is when schemers sweet talk dreamers.

Leave a Reply

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

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Fine Wine Logistics Coordinator

IG Wines
London, GB

Brand Ambassador East Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
New York - field-based, USA

Brand Ambassador West Coast USA - Ableforth’s

Maverick Drinks
San Francisco / Los Angeles - field-based, USA

Global Travel Retail Manager

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Portfolio Ambassador - Europe

Maverick Drinks
North West Europe - field-based, UK

Senior Partner Manager - Grocery

Maverick Drinks
London/Field Based, UK

Sales Executive

Woolf Sung Ltd
London

Trade Marketing Manager - Maverick Drinks

Maverick Drinks
London / Kent

Business Development Executive Central London

William Grant & Sons UK
London

PR & Communications Officer - Atom Group

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Crus Bourgeois du Médoc 2015 Official Selection Tasting

London,United Kingdom
21st Sep 2017

The City Wine Show

London,United Kingdom
22nd Sep 2017

Almaviva 2015 Vintage and Vertical Tasting

London,United Kingdom
28th Sep 2017
Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 29th September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

Click to view more