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Majestic unveils plans to win back lost customers

Specialist wine retailer Majestic has revealed plans to re-engage customers lost in recent years, which include opening two new stores, overhauling its website, and refreshing its offering.

The retailer said 150,000 new customers had used its local delivery service during the Covid-19 pandemic and google searches for ‘Majestic wine’ were up 3,500%.

Like many retailers with an online presence, Majestic faced unprecedented levels of demand in late March, causing its website to crash. The business temporarily closed its stores, and later restored its click and collect service in May, and reopened stores in June.

The disruption, however, did not dampen online sales, which grew by over 300% during April, May and June. The company said demand had been offset by “additional costs” together with a reduction in business for its on-trade arm Majestic Commercial, which fell by 94%, and its Calais stores.

The average bottle price sold by the retailer rose 11% in the same period, with sales of English wine up 122% and Australian wine by 159%. Rosé also proved popular, with a 95% uptick, with sales of wines from the Loire (+54%), Burgundy (+29%) Sherry (+75%) and Beaujolais (+77%) all performing well.

As it looks ahead, CEO John Colley, said it was about “getting back to what we do best”.

“Now we have the vision and strategy to take the company forward as one team, and I am convinced that this forty year old company has a really exciting future ahead,” he added.

Plans involve the opening of new stores in Henley and Beckenham this year, with more sites planned for 2021. The retailer has also committed to “entirely refresh” its range and grow its customer base. Majestic has already reviewed over 60% of its offering, with more than 200 new wines introduced since February.

It has now set itself the target of increasing sales by more than 10% over five years, reversing the half-decide trend for declining profits.

To improve its efficiency, it will introduce a new website and till management system in the autumn, and will move its national fulfillment centre to a larger site in Corby. It is hoping to offer its full range for next day delivery in due course.

Majestic has reaffirmed its commitment its staff, and will offer every employee WSET training by Christmas.

Colley said that while consumer habits were “definitely moving multi-channel”, as lockdown restrictions ease, customers that first ordered through Majestic online are now visiting its stores.

“If anything, this has given us more confidence in the role of our bricks and mortar arm, and it’s ability to offer a truly multi-channel experience for our customers. We think that the future will not be about one channel or the other, but instead having the best possible service across all channels for our customers to experience and discover,” he added.

Founded in 1980, Majestic currently operates over 190 stores in the UK, and two in France. Now privately-owned, the company was sold by Naked Wines to the Fortress Investment Group in 2019.

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