Wine retailer Majestic delivered a 3.9% jump in pretax profit to £9.2m for the 26 weeks to October 1 despite the tough economic conditions and wet summer weather.
Sales excluding wholesale activities generated £122.7m, up 4.6% in the first half against last year. But group revenues fell £1.8m to £126m as sales at the company’s wholesale business declined to £3.2m from £7.2m as Majestic focused on “on-trade” customers.
UK retail like-for-likes were up 0.6% in the period but the retailer said this has accelerated since the end of the period, with like-for-likes up 1.2% in the six weeks to November 12.
Online sales surged 14% on last year, representing 9.8% of UK retail sales. The retailer launched its mobile optimised site at the beginning of the period helping to drive the number of orders placed online up 19.9%.
Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis said: “These results, achieved in a challenging economic environment and the wettest summer on record, display the resilience of the Majestic business. I am pleased that so many new customers are choosing to shop with Majestic.”
Majestic opened nine new stores in the period and a further two since then, bringing the total store estate to 189.
Chairman Phil Wrigley said: “We are pleased by the initial sales recorded in all these stores and continue to see the potential to expand the UK store portfolio to 330 locations.”
He added that summer sales were impacted by the weather which led to many large outdoor events being cancelled.
But customers are visiting stores more frequently and average transactions have increased by £1 to £126. The average bottle price of still wine purchased at Majestic is £7.46 up from £7.13 last year.