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Profits at Off-Piste Wines rise 10%

Wine distributor Off-Piste Wines saw turnover and profits rise 10% during 2015, despite the challenging UK retail landscape.

OFF PISTE LOGOThe Cheltenham-based supplier, whose main clients include the major multiples as well as wholesale and cash & carry, reported strong sales for the 12 months to 31 December, with turnover up 10% to £22.9m, according to accounts filed at Companies.

This came despite the “competitive and challenging” UK retail market, it noted, in which retailers have rationalise their wine portfolios.

Pretax profit also rose in line with turnover, growing 10.6% to £2.36m, while operating profit was also up 9.8%, the accounts reported..

The company said its continued focus on building a wide portfolio of brands from across the world had accounted for the increase in turnover. Sales in the UK, which accounts for 97% of its business, grew 9.9%, with Europe seeing growth of 20% as sales to the rest of the world (which account for less than 0.5%) fell.

Owner and managing director Paul Letheren told db the primary drive was increase volume sales across the board.

“We are selling more wine to more customers both in the UK and abroad, including our own brands, such as Most Wanted and The Duke, as well as own-label projects with retailers, and the brands owned by our suppliers,” he said.

The figures compare favourably with last year which saw turnover fall 1.6% to £21.9m on the back of increase in the wines sold on commission, and show an increase on 2013.

Off-Piste Wines launched the varietal-led Most Wanted brand in May 2015 to appeal to millennial drinkers, and followed it with the ‘bold’ Spanish Duke and Duchess range in August.

Speaking to db earlier this year, Most Wanted’s creator and brand manager Rachel Archer said the range was set to be widened with more ‘niche’ wines, but admitted it was harder to get shelf space following the widespread consolidation of retailers’ ranges.

In addition to its own brands, it supplies own-label wines to the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference and Winemaker Selection ranges, Tesco Finest, Morrison Signature and Asda.

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