Naked Wines the jewel in Majestic Wine’s crown over Christmas as firm is stretched by brutal retail market and changing shopping habits
- Christmas for Majestic Wine was more challenging than expected
- Sales were broadly in line with expectations, up 6.3% thanks to Naked Wines
- Boss Rowan Gormley reiterated his desire to be a winner in the retail revolution
Wine seller Majestic said today that Christmas trading was more difficult than it anticipated as economic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence in the run-up to Brexit take their toll.
The group toasted a significant 6.3 per cent sales rise in the last 10 weeks of the year, which is a marked acceleration on the 3.2 per cent uplift it reported a year ago.
But this rapid growth was driven by a near-16 per cent leap at its fast-growing Naked Wines business, as well as heavy discounting.
Majestic Wine’s Christmas sales were up 6.3% thanks to Naked Wines and promotions
Majestic Wine insisted its profits for the full-year will still meet market expectations, but flagged that gross margins over the festive period slipped by 1.2 per cent as it joined in with a ‘very price promotional market’.
Despite the strain of a tough Christmas, group boss Rowan Gormley said he remained confident that the firm will be one of the winners in what he termed a ‘retail revolution’.
He, like Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe, flagged visible changes in consumer behaviour in recent months and said: ‘We think there will be winners and losers, and we believe we have what it takes to be one of the winners.
‘We are uniquely placed, with the people, data and skills in place to succeed, despite the headwinds we are seeing,’ he added.
Shares in the company inched 1.2 per cent higher in early trading.
Majestic Wine came clean in November on plans to stockpile up to £8million worth of wine to ensure stocks don’t run dry in the event of a no-deal Brexit.