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Prosecco sales help to fizz Majestic profits

The good summer weather saw a 39% increase in Prosecco sales that helped to boost Majestic Wines’ half-yearly profits.

Profits before tax in the 26 weeks to 30 September rose 4.2% on last year to £9.5 million, while total sales increased 3.3% to £130.2 million.

As well as strong demand for the £9-£10 Italian sparking wine, chief executive Steve Lewis said the barbecue summer also boosted sales of Rose from Provence by 50%, and Argentinian Malbec by 40%.

Lewis said: “The UK population is falling in love with wine and continues to do so.

“The growth of Prosecco is a long-term trend but it has really stepped up this year. It’s become a really social drink which is not just for celebrations but for drinking with friends and family on a Friday and Saturday night.

“Champagne is still really important to us, it makes up 12% of our sales but I think it is now a different market from Prosecco. Champagne is about personal consumption for celebrations whereas Prosecco is for every day.”

The company, which recently added six shops to its portfolio, will open its 200th in Petersfield on Friday and has plans for five more locations before Christmas.

Lewis also said that Majestic’s online business will be a key part of next month’s Christmas sales.

He added: “These results show we continue to make steady progress towards our strategic growth objectives and we are very well prepared for the peak Christmas trading period.”

Following the results, Majestic’s board upped its interim dividend by 5% to 4.2p per share, which will be paid on January 3.

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