Majestic Wine profits fail to fizz in market dominated by the supermarkets

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Majestic Wine posted broadly flat profits of £23.8m yesterday as the retailer counted the cost of a New Year hangover in consumer spending.

The wine warehouse chain, which has 206 stores in the UK, described trading conditions as challenging and said its rate of online growth had slowed due to new entrants into the market.

Total sales rose 1.4 per cent to £278.2m in the year to March 31 but like-for-like sales were 0.1 per cent lower due to a poor January and February as consumer spending was subdued following a positive Christmas trading period.

Majestic said: “The market in which we operate remains very competitive and is dominated by the large supermarkets. The market has declined slightly in volume terms over each of the last three years although it has continued to grow modestly in value.”

It blamed inflationary pressures on alcohol duties which have risen from £1.81 per bottle three years ago to £2.05. Costs have also been rising around the world as harvests have been weaker due to poor weather, combined with rising demand, particularly in the Far East.

Majestic said its share of the market as measured by Nielsen increased by 0.1 per cent to 4.2 per cent over the year to the end of March. Steve Lewis, the chief executive, said: “Majestic made good operational progress in the last year.”

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