Majestic undaunted by autumn sales slowdown


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Majestic Wine has vowed to push ahead with its store expansion, despite underlying sales falling in recent weeks. The wine retailer yesterday unveiled a 20 per cent rise in half-year profits and plans to open 16 new shops this financial year and a similar number in 2012-13. It opened just 12 last year. Steve Lewis, the chief executive of Majestic Wine, said: "With the demise of the high street off-licences [such as Threshers] we want to keep our foot down hard." He sees the potential for 330 UK shops, up from 174 today. The retailer grew profits by 20 per cent to £8.8m over the 26 weeks to 26 September. But its like-for-like sales fell 1.1 per cent over the six weeks to 7 November, after a "disappointing" mid-October.