Majestic Wine’s retail sales grew 7.3% on a like-for-like basis over Christmas, driven by simpler pricing and improvements to customer experience.

The business said total retail sales in the 10 weeks to January 4 advanced 7.5% as its strategic plan paid off. Majestic has switched its emphasis from opening new stores to acquiring new customers under new boss Rowan Gormley, scrapping its six-bottle minimum purchase rule in a bid to woo shoppers from its supermarket rivals. 

Gormley has also put improving availability and the customer experience at the heart of his three-year strategy, as he seeks to build on Majestic’s reputation for a personal service amid fierce competition from Conviviality and grocery rivals including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and discount duo Aldi and Lidl

However, the investments made in those areas to reinvigorate sales resulted in higher costs and a lower percentage gross margin during the crucial trading period.

Majestic said overall sales soared 42.6% compared with the same period last year, boosted by the acquisition of Naked Wines.

On a pro-forma basis, assuming Naked Wines was owned throughout the comparable period last year, sales were up 12.2%.

Naked Wines sales surged 28.9% during the Christmas trading period, while Majestic’s Lay & Wheeler business reported a drop off of 3.5%. Sales grew 10.2% within its commercial arm.

Gormley hailed the “encouraging” set of results. He added: ”Majestic commercial and Naked Wines continued to grow strongly, and I am particularly heartened to see the Majestic retail business grow as the impact of our better pricing, better service and better looking stores starts to take effect.

“However, there is still much to do. We are only three months into our three-year plan and although this performance is pleasing it is too early to call it a trend.”