After 29 years with Majestic Wine, six of which were spent leading the brand, chief executive Steve Lewis has left the company.
Wrigley said: “Life is complicated and business is complicated. We all believe that we could do better.
“Steve’s decision to cut the minimum purchase from 12 to six bottles just as the recession was ending was a great success. But his real legacy is in the culture and, particularly, the level of customer service you see in our stores.”
He said the new chief executive need not come from the wine trade but would need to understand “the broader market” and particularly digital sales where Majestic could double its current level of 12 per cent of revenues.
10 Best English Wines
10 Best English Wines
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee
Nyetimber has established itself as England’s premier sparkling wine house, often trouncing the big champagne names in blind tastings. This one – made in Nye- timber’s best year yet – is creamy and rich, with notes of brioche and a refreshing citrus twist.
£23.98 each (if you buy two bottles), majestic.co.uk
Gusbourne Sparkling RosE
Toast the rise of English fizz with this sparkling rosé from the Gusbourne Estate in Kent. The vines were pinched from Champagne, but the wine has a delicate hue that on the nose gives gently spiced biscuits, shortcake, strawberries, cream and red apples.
Denbies Pinot Gris
This vineyard in Dorking beat Mediterranean rosé wines hands down at the International Wine Challenge. Its white wine is also something to savour; pale straw in colour, the palate is full- bodied with a layered creamy texture and a crisp, acid backbone.
Chapel Down Flint Dry
This dry, zesty and fruit-driven wine has citrus, greengage, apricot and floral aromas on the nose, while on the palate, you get melon, apricot and a flint character.
This straw-gold sparkling wine with very fine bubbles has warm citrus aromas with hints of honey and complex flavours of red apple, exotic spice and brioche, with a lovely lingering finish. Made exclusively for M&S, it makes a great aperitif.
Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvee
Hattingley Valley gives champagne makers a run for their money with its elegant and pale gold bubbly. The 2011 version comes from its first vintage, which saw a hot autumn, meaning the fruit ripened perfectly. It has aromas of red berries and brioche and a delicate toasty character.
Balfour Brut Rosé
This award-winner is a scrumptious example of a sparkling English rosé. Produced by the relatively new Hush Heath Estate winery in Kent, it’s creamy, yet light and has an excellent balance of fruit and acids.
Knightor Madeleine Angevine
This easy-drinking wine has been gently whole-bunch pressed and cool-fermented, before early bottling to retain freshness and the fruity character. It has delightful floral aromas with hints of gooseberry and elderflower and a fresh, invigorating palate with balanced acidity and a clean finish.
Herbert Hall Brut RosE
This Kent-based producer only offer two wines – brut and brut rosé – but they’re making waves. The Wall Street Journal voted the brut as one of the 10 best sparkling wines of the world, but we think the rosé is just as good; lighter than champagne and with subtle summer fruits on the palate.
Camel Valley White Pinot Noir
This elegant and light bubbly has received plenty of well-deserved accolades. You can drink it now or store it to allow the structure and more mature characteristics to evolve. The vineyard itself, set in the heart of Cornwall, is well worth a day trip if ever you get the chance.
Lewis joined Majestic as a graduate trainee in its Clapham branch 29 years ago.
Since he became chief executive in 2008, sales have risen by 41 per cent and profits by 42 per cent. But analysts today said they expect this year’s profits to be no higher than those seen in 2012.
Majestic shares rose 14.25p to 344.25p but have fallen more than 30 per cent in the past year.
He has left immediately and Fran Minogue of headhunters Clarity Search has already been called in to find his replacement.
“Steve has done a great job but profit growth has stalled, said chairman Phil Wrigley.
“This is not something which we decided overnight and the board and Steve were in total agreement that we needed change.”
Majestic issued a profits warning a year ago and its recent Christmas trading statement revealed sluggish sales growth and lower margins as it took on price-cutting supermarkets and discounters.Reuse content