Majestic Wine to expand rapidly after profit rise

Majestic Wine has vowed to push ahead with its store expansion despite underlying sales falling in recent weeks.

The wine retailer unveiled plans to open 16 new shops this financial year and a similar number in 2012-13, as it posted a 20 per cent rise in half-year profits yesterday. It opened just 12 stores last year. Steve Lewis, Majestic's chief executive, 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 by 1.1 per cent over the six weeks to 7 November, after a "disappointing" mid-October.

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