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Nicolas wine chain gets a new owner

Benoît Thouvenin, the owner and managing director of Spirited Wines, has acquired the 43-store wine chain Nicolas UK from the Castel family for an undisclosed fee.

The deal seals the exit from the UK of the French wine specialist Castel Frères, which saw it acquire the Oddbins chain in 2001. Castel sold Oddbins seven years later to Simon Baile, the son of the chain's founder Nick Baile.

Spirited Wines, founded in 2010, has 13 shops outside London and it specialises in French wine and Scotch whisky. All of Nicolas UK's franchise shops are inside the M25.

Mr Thouvenin is the former head of operations at Nicolas UK.

The off-licence sector has been through a turbulent decade with multiple administrations, including Threshers, Unwins, Victoria Wine, Wine Rack and Oddbins.