Majestic Wine toasts 20 per cent rise in profits as buyers return

Majestic Wine raised a glass to a 20 per cent rise in half-year profits yesterday, saying its decision last year to reduce the minimum purchase in its stores to six bottles had kept sales fizzing.

The wine warehouse's increase in earnings, which came in at £7.3m, was also driven by growing sales to businesses, a strong performance from its operation in France and surging demand for sparkling wines, fine wines and New Zealand brands.

Steve Lewis, the chief executive of Majestic, said the decision to halve its minimum purchase from 12 bottles to six in September 2009 was still attracting new customers and drawing existing ones into its shops more often.

The change was behind a 19 per cent rise in the number of transactions to 869,000 at stores open for at least one year. Mr Lewis said. The average spend per transaction fell by only 7 per cent to £122 in the 26 weeks to 27 September. Majestic reported a 7.6 per cent jump in like-for-like sales and, despite it now overlapping the anniversary of the shift in minimum purchase, the growth rate has fallen only marginally since the end of the half year.

Majestic, which has 160 branches in the UK and three in northern France, also celebrated a 5 per cent growth in champagne sales, with its Jacquart Brut at £15 a bottle the top seller. Mr Lewis said: "The British love affair with champagne keeps growing."

Majestic's total sales, including those at two new stores, grew by 10.2 per cent to £117.6m. It said sales to business customers such as gastropubs and restaurants were growing again after declining for two years.

However, Mr Lewis said: "There is no great evidence of corporate entertainment coming back."

Majestic raised its interim dividend by 17.9 per cent to 3.3p a share.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Guru Careers: Communications Exec / PR Exec

£25 - £30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a highly-motivated and ambitious Comm...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral