Internet sales booming
Pre-tax profits at Majestic Wine soared by more than 14 per cent to£16.2 million in its fourteenth year of consecutive profit growth.

In its preliminary results out today, Majestic's total sales were up 11 per cent to£191.2 million for the 53 weeks to April 2. Like-for-like sales in the UK were up 4.9 per cent.

Like-for-like sales for the first eleven weeks of the new financial year to June 18 are up 4.9 per cent. Growth has been driven by customers trading up to higher quality purchases and strong internet sales.

The average spend per transaction rose from£118 to£123 in the previous year. The average price of a bottle of wine was up from£5.59 to£5.75. Sales of fine wine, priced at£20 or more, rose 25 per cent.

Internet sales were up 35 per cent on the previous year and account for 7.2 per cent of UK sales. The retailer will relaunch its new web site later in the year to support further growth.

Majestic Wine opened eight new stores and re-sited three during the period. It operates 136 stores in the UK.

The retailer experienced challenging trading conditions its French business as day-trip traffic declined. Like-for-likes fell 5.2 per cent for the period and profit before tax was£1.8 million, down from£1.9 million the previous year.

Chief executive Tim How said: 'We are encouraged by our ability to attract new customers and see a continuing trend towards purchasing higher quality wines. We believe that prospects for the future growth of Majestic are good.'