UK retailer Majestic Wine posted a small sales increase in its 2013/14 results, but reported major growth in the fine wine, Malbec and Provençal rosé categories.
Despite warning shareholders of a flat performance after “challenging trading conditions” during the first part of 2014, the wine retailer saw total sales for the 52 weeks to the end of March rise by 1.4% to £278.2 million. However like-for-like retail sales dipped by -0.1%.
Thanks to its policy of selling a minimum of six bottles per transaction, Majestic’s average spend from customers was £129, while the average price per bottle of still wine was £7.94, with both figures rising slightly on 2013.
However, it was the company’s sales of Provençal rosé which showed the most marked increase, growing by 84% last year to the extent that Majestic now claims to hold a 47% market share of this category in the UK.
Malbec, whether sourced from Argentina, Chile or France, is also proving particularly popular with Majestic customers, who bought 50% more wines made from this variety than in 2012/13.
Earlier this year the retailer highlighted significant demand for fine wine during the Christmas 2013 period. This was reflected even more strongly in its final year results, which showed a 19.7% increase in sales of wine priced at £20 per bottle or above.
Other areas of growth for the business included a 20.6% increase in sales to commercial managed accounts, with this sector now generating £37.3m. Following the relaunch of its website in July 2013, online revenues also rose by 5.8% to hit £27.7m, or 11.4% of Majestic’s total UK sales.
In addition to relocating its head office to Watford last May, Majestic continued its expansion programme, opening 13 new stores during the last year to give the UK’s largest wine specialist a total of 206 outlet across the country.
Commenting on the results Steve Lewis, chief executive, said: “Majestic made good operational progress in the last year and despite the difficult trading environment delivered a solid performance.”
Looking ahead, he promised: “2015 will be a year of increased investment for Majestic to ensure that we have the right infrastructure to maximise on our long term opportunities for future growth.”