Wine merchant Laithwaites Wine wants to up its brand profile with the opening of a flagship London shop and the relaunch of its website next year.
The retailer will open a 5,000 sq ft shop in wine attraction Vinopolis in January, on a site that is currently a Majestic Wine store.
It already has 10 stores in the Southeast and Midlands, as well as its catalogue, online and Sunday Times Wine Club channels, and is part of the £340m a year Direct Wines group.
The website will be relaunched early next year on the ATG platform, with the web already accounting for 35% of its sales. In total it ships about 4 million cases of wine each year, and it delivered 135,000 cases last week in what is its busiest week of the year.
Laithwaites Wine managing director Phil Hullah told Retail Week that the brand has had a fairly low profile in the past, but the business is ready to take the next step. The new site will help customers to negotiate its 3,000-strong wine range.
The retailer will also ramp up its online marketing – which it is already doing more of than ever – once the site relaunches.
Former John Lewis man Hullah feels the brand can become more mainstream while retaining strong differentiation from the supermarkets. The flagship store will run events, and the relaunched website will aim to create a place where wine lovers can come together in a community and engage with the brand.
Hullah is also keen to deliver a more joined up multichannel experience, and Laithwaites has been running a click-and-collect trial for the past three months in three stores, which has been successful.
He added that while the retailer would consider carefully opening a few more sites, it is certainly “not in the market for buying 50 Threshers stores”.