Majestic hit by falling wine sales
Falling champagne sales to nervous bosses dealt a further blow to Majestic Wines today.
The UK's biggest wine warehouse chain said like-for-like sales slid 2.9 per cent in the 10 weeks to 5 January - compared with 1.2 per cent growth during the run-up to Christmas in 2007.
Chief executive Steve Lewis said: "Sales to businesses, especially of champagne, were down on last year as they continued to rein in their spending."
Demand for champagne was hit as corporate events in the City of London were cut back during the festive season - while businesses' gifts to clients tended to be cheaper still wines rather than bubbly, Mr Lewis said.
"Every business needs to cut costs and be seen to cut costs," he added.
Despite the fall-off in business custom, the group however saw "modest growth" in private sales as it held its own against larger rivals.
"We set up our business to expect a very tough Christmas and we are quite encouraged with the result. Despite fierce competition from supermarkets, sales from private customers came in very well," Mr Lewis said.
Altium Securities analyst David Stoddart said the sales decline matched his forecasts of a 3 per cent fall in sales for Majestic during the second half of the year.
"UK performance is therefore broadly in line with our expectations," he said.
Majestic has 147 outlets in the UK and around 850 staff, selling wines and spirits with a minimum purchase of 12 bottles a time.
Majestic was founded in 1981 with just a single store in Wood Green, north London. The store could only open all day by selling a minimum 12 bottles at a time under the-then licensing regime.
The group was floated on the stock market in 1996 and launched in France in 2001.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...