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Jeroboams steps up ambition for growth

London wine merchant Jeroboams has unveiled a five-year plan that it hope will see its retail business grow to around a dozen stores.

Jeroboam MD Hugh Sturges is spearheading the five-year strategy for growth
Jeroboams MD Hugh Sturges is spearheading the five-year strategy for growth

Hugh Sturges, who joined the business from Berry Bros & Rudd six months ago, told db there were lots of opportunities for the company,and its private shareholder was putting in “reasonable” levels of investment to boost growth.

The business’s USP lies in its network of seven stores (including its Notting Hill deli Mr Christian’s) that are located in ‘villages’ across London, Sturges said, and Jeroboam’s planned to implement a “360 degree approach” to provide a more streamlined experience for both its retail and private account customers.

Retail currently accounts for around a third of the business, with private client representing a further third – but Sturges said these two strands would be amalgamated to provide a more personal service, and encourage shoppers in store to become private clients.

“The strategy is to attract customers in through the retail stores and then onto other parts of the business,” Sturges told db. “We are realigning the business model to the customers – there will be a seamless approach from buying a bottle of wine for dinner, to becoming a private client, growing a cellar or purchasing en primeur.”

“If we can make that work, we plan to extend our reach into other locations in due course,” he added. “It is still fluid, but we could reach a dozen stores in five years – there is certainly the opportunity in London.”

Sturges plans to start with the revamp of a number of its stores, including an overhaul of its flagship Walton Street shop, which will include a new cellar where the retailer can hold tastings and events for its private account customers, as well as refreshing the wine range, according to the type and location of each shop.

“We have two types of stores with different clientele,” Sturges explained. “In the SW1 stores, people are more interested in more premium and traditional wines, but we will add interest to that that they might like. In Notting Hill and Hampstead, there is a broader demographic and we will bring in a new focus on Italian and New Zealand wine, as well as the more traditional Jeroboams’ heartland of Burgundy and Bordeaux.”

Around 20% of the wines will be refreshed in stores with a younger demographic, he said.

The website is also being relaunched towards the end of the year following investment in the IT systems. The new site will be an extension of the retail side of the business, Sturges said, highlighting the community and what is happening in store rather than being a wine-led transactional website for private account, – a format Sturges admitted had not been proved “terribly effective”.

It is also developing its Mr Christian’s deli in Notting Hill to better complement its wine shops, with a range of hampers, canapés and dinner party food available to match wines in its wine shops.

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