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International sales boost Off-Piste Wines sales

UK supplier and brand owner Off-Piste Wines’ sales rose 14% to £40 million in the year to 31 January 2019, according to accounts filed at Companies House, with international growth outpacing domestic growth.

The company said the boost came despite the highly competitive and challenging market.

“The political forces awe have seen post the UK’s decision to leave the EU and especially their negative impact on GBP have undoubtedly made for a much harder trading environment, managing director Andy Talbot wrote. “Nonetheless, the company has grown earnings and gross margin significantly during the year, thanks to the success of the commercial focus and long term growth plans.”

A £500,000 increase in overheads dented operating profit, which dipped 5% to £2.7 million, but this came of the back of investment in the Most Wanted brand, Talbot said, adding that it put the company in a better position for anticipated future growth.

UK sales grew 11.5% to £36 million, with international sales up 54%, albeit from a smaller base. International sales account for around 7.5% of sales, with the US making up the lion’s share, now accounting for 7% of total sales, up from 5% in the previous year.

Speaking to db in July, executive officer Paul Letheren said he wanted to treble growth of international sales and that 20% was an achievable figure. This would come either through taking on another partner or the strategic acquisition of another small company based in, or with strong route to market in a key target market.

Although Off-Piste Wines operates in around 30 different markets, he said he planned to focus on four or key key countries or territories and make those “really fly”.

Convenience was another big opportunity for growth, he said, with canned wines such as the Most Wanted and Pinot Pinot proving key in “opening the door” to retailers such as McColls, Spar and more Coop stores.

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