Majestic Wine pre-tax profit rose 4.2% to £9.5m in its half to September 30.

This was despite a 0.4% dip in UK retail like-for-likes.

The wine specialist said the like-for-like decline was down to the impact of Easter and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations last year. In the final 17 weeks of the period from June 4, like-for-likes increased 3%.

Majestic Wine’s business-to-business sales rose 8.6% and now account for 21.7% of total sales.

Online sales advanced 8.3% over the half and now represents10.3% of UK retail sales. The retailer launched a new website and a click-and-collect service over the half.

Majestic Wine’s Calais stores made £660,000 pre-tax profit before interest, down 19.2% on last year, while its fine wine specialist Lay & Wheeler’s pre-tax profit before interest increased 13.6% to £575,000.

Majestic Wine chief executive Steve Lewis said: “These results show we continue to make steady progress towards our strategic growth objectives and we are very well prepared for the peak Christmas trading period.”

Lewis said the retailer has stepped up its marketing for Christmas with an increase in direct marketing mailouts and online adverts. “We have upped our game this Christmas. We did not perform as well as we would’ve liked last November and this year we are able to offer extremely good value for money,” Lewis told Retail Week.

Lewis added that the new click-and-collect service is likely to be vital during the Christmas period as staff struggle to dispatch orders to homes from store.

The retailer is set to open its 200th store this month and is confident it can expand to 330 stores across the UK.