Majestic Wine has appointed a new commercial director as it continues to defy market conditions to record sales increases.

The specialist retailer last week appointed Ben Nicholl to the role, heading a team of 38 salesmen and 15 operations staff.

Nicholl, who has worked for Majestic for 15 years and was commercial sales manager, replaces Mark Reynolds, who passed away this year. Nicholl reports directly to chief executive Steve Lewis.

Majestic Wine posted a 14.5% jump in pre-tax profit to £23.2m in the 53 weeks to April 2. Total sales increased 8.9% to £280m while like-for-likes grew 2.6%.

However, like-for-like growth has slowed since the year end, rising by just 0.6% in the 10 weeks to June 11.

Although the period included the sales fillip associated with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Lewis described the performance as “OK” given the retailer was up against tough comparables because of last year’s royal wedding.

Majestic cancelled all leave and serviced its entire fleet of vans in time for the Jubilee.

Lewis said that Majestic’s management had to “make our own luck” in the face of difficult trading conditions. He said: “It’s very, very tough out there. We have been tactical, we have been nimble.”

Online sales increased 7.8% year on year and now represent 10% of UK retail sales. Traffic from mobile devices was up 20% while revenue through the channel rose 50% in the last year following a relaunch of its mobile site.

The 181-store retailer opened 16 shops in the period and has a target of 330 shops within the next 10 years.

Customer numbers rose 11.1% to 568,000 in the year. The average spend per transaction was up £2 to £128.