Bubbly is flowing at one retailer

Majestic Wine was the toast of the embattled retail sector yesterday after it posted sparkling Christmas sales, despite the snow disruption and unprecedented discounting by the big supermarkets.

The wine warehouse retailer raised a glass to its loyal customers who "battled through December's dreadful weather conditions" to shop at its 150 UK stores. This helped Majestic to underlying sales growth of 3.7 per cent over the nine weeks to 3 January - which, it says, would have been 1.5 per cent higher without the snowfall.

Steve Lewis, the chief executive of Majestic Wine, said it had also overcome fierce competition. He said: "The supermarket activity was incredible. They were discounting right through to Christmas, which I have never seen before."

Majestic said champagne sales jumped by 6 per cent over the period, driven by individual consumers purchasing quality champagne priced at least £20 a bottle. But he said: "We have not seen any return of corporate gifting and sales of champagne [to companies]." Total UK sales at Majestic, which also has three stores in northern France, rose by 6.4 per cent.

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