Majestic Wine, the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, today revealed details of a record breaking trading period over the last 18 months, with some key trends predicted to continue as the world reopens.
The retailer has been heavily investing in growth across its store-based business, following its 2019 acquisition by Fortress Investment Group (Fortress), the global investment manager. The strategy, based on a belief in bricks and mortar retailing, is now beginning to bear fruit – with four branch openings, an improved range and a large investment in infrastructure all helping to facilitate an unprecedented period of record growth against supermarket and independent competitors.
Majestic is also bracing for its biggest ever summer due to the return to growth of its ontrade arm following a year of hiatus, and more people holidaying in the UK. Following the recent warm Bank Holiday, it has already seen large growth in the network of stores which can deliver directly to holiday accommodation.
Over the course of the last 18 months, notable trends have begun to emerge at an accelerated pace, including across some key categories such as New World rosé, English Wine and regions hard hit by the virus – including Italy and South Africa. This, plus record online sales growth of over 300% and an increase in the average price paid per bottle at Majestic, are all trends predicted to continue by Majestic’s award winning Buying Team.
However, wine lovers were also warned to look out for potential shortages in some of Majestic’s biggest sellers across the country – including New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and some key French lines – due to extremely challenging harvests and frosts in these areas.
Majestic CEO John Colley said: “The last year has been unbelievably tough for all of us, but I am proud of the role our stores and colleagues have played in supporting our customers and suppliers throughout Covid. Our shareholder, Fortress Investment Group, believes in the future of this 40 year old institution and has invested millions since the acquisition in December 2019. This has saved jobs and fuelled long term growth at a time when many were reluctant to invest in traditional UK retail. They have enabled us to not just turn the business around, but also begin building a strong company that will employ colleagues and serve even more customers in the decades to come.”
A key part of Majestic’s current success is the revival of its bricks and mortar channel- particularly as prior to acquisition, the business came perilously near closing its doors for the final time.
“With a pipeline of store openings set for the coming years, and so much genuine affection across the UK for the Majestic brand – we believe this is set to be an exciting next chapter. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all our colleagues at Majestic for their hard work, support and approach to the last year. For doing it safely, and with amazing energy and expertise. And I’m sure we can continue this story for many years to come” he added.