The tougher economic climate has hit home at Majestic Wine, which saw sales for the year to March 30 rise 2.4 per cent to £201.8m, but pre-tax profits fall 55.8 per cent to £7.4m.

The retailer’s overseas business, Wine and Beer World, comprising three stores in northern France, was blamed for the much of the decline as UK shoppers were discouraged from travelling due to the strength of the euro. E-commerce proved a highlight for Majestic, rising 16 per cent during the year and now accounts for 9.1 per cent of UK retail sales.

During the year, Majestic Wine opened four new stores, in Hereford, Leatherhead, Finchley and north Oxford, and has seen the average bottle of wine purchased in its branches rise from 2008’s £5.98, to £6.35.

UK like-for-like sales for the 10 weeks to June 8 were up 2 per cent.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: “The resilience of our core cosumer business is encouraging. Our market share has held steady and we are confident that Majestic is well positioned to benefit from any upturn in the economy.”