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Roberson to close Kensington shop

Roberson Wine has announced it will be closing its wine shop on High Street Kensington at the end of August to focus on its business to business trade.

The shop, which has operated since November 1991, will close on 30 August this year so that the company can focus on other areas of its business that are “growing rapidly” such as its “wine on tap” initiative and on- and off-trade departments.

Cliff Roberson, founder and managing director of Roberson Wine said: “Roberson Wine is innovative. We like taking the business in exciting new directions. We brought the ‘New California’ to the UK, set up London’s first winery, and have recently launched wine on tap.

“We want these areas to be our main focus. This hasn’t been an easy decision, the shop has been fantastic for building Roberson’s brand, but bricks and mortar retail is a small part of our business now, and this is the right decision for the future of the company.”

Roberson Wine’s senior buyer, Mark Andrew, added: “We will continue to operate online, which ensures that all our products will have a presence in the market, but beyond that we are hoping that independent retailers all across the country will prove to be the perfect showroom for our portfolio.”

Staff from the shop will be moved into a new off-trade division and has said their retail experience will make them invaluable in dealing with trade clients.

Adam Green, Roberson’s wine business development director, said: “We have always tried to demonstrate that as an independent merchant we are the ideal supplier to other indies.

“We understand their frustrations when it comes to channel management and pricing, but the reality is that there has been some resistance to the idea of using a direct bricks and mortar competitor as a supplier. Now that barrier will be removed.”

He added that the shop was also coming to the end of its current lease and it was decided that, rather than committing to another “five to 10 years”, it was time to close.

“The shop was fantastic for launching the company and brand 24 years ago,” explained Green, “but things have grown a lot since then and it now accounts for only 13% of our business.”

Roberson will continue to hold events at its “London Cru” winery in Earls Court and its head office and work has begun on a purpose-built space for tastings.

Two final consumer events will take place at the shop during August.

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