Majestic buoyant on bubbly sales

Buoyant sales of champagne and Chilean wine helped Majestic Wine Warehouse to a spirited Christmas performance in its maiden results since last November's AIM flotation.

While most of the champagne-buying was seasonal, the company said it had sold large quantities of vintage bottles to forward-thinking party- givers who were already planning ahead to New Year's Eve celebrations at the millennium.

Majestic has been urging customers to buy their bubbly in advance of 1999 when it will make "very good drinking". Majestic has pre-sold some champagne which it is storing for delivery for the Millennium parties.

The comments came as Majestic announced a slip into the red in the first half to September. Profits of pounds 114,000 turned into a loss of pounds 82,000 as the company continued to invest in store expansion.

A further two stores were opened in November taking the total to 61. Another site will open in Manchester next month. Majestic plans to have 70 stores by March 1998.

"We have got several now at an advanced stage both legally and in terms of planning applications," said Tim How, the chief executive .

The expansion will be funded from existing resources which were boosted by the pounds 2m raised via the group's AIM flotation last year.

Majestic recorded impressive gains with sales in the three months to 30 December 22.4 per cent ahead of the same period last year. Stripping out the contribution from new stores, like-for-like sales growth was also impressive at 10.8 per cent. For the five weeks over Christmas, like-for- like sales were up by 12.7 per cent.

Majestic has proved a sterling performer since its shares were priced at 160p in November. Yesterday they edged up a further 2.5p to 290p.

Most of the wine market is accounted for either by supermarkets or by high-street off-licence chains such as Threshers and Victoria Wine. However, Whitbread is testing a warehouse-style off-licence formula which sells beer and spirits as well as wine.

Majestic was acquired by the current chairman, John Apthorp, who controlled a rival chain, Wizard Wine. Mr Apthorp had made his fortune through the sale of the Bejam frozen food stores to Iceland. He still controls 55 per cent of the shares.

The directors have pledged not to sell the bulk of their shareholdings until 1998.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk