Majestic Wine sees profits rise in 'challenging' year

Majestic Wine shop Majestic Wine's chairman said it was a "challenging" environment for retailers

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Majestic Wine has reported a small rise in sales and profit despite what its chairman described as a "challenging" environment for retailers.

Pre-tax profit rose 0.3% to £23.8m in the year to 31 March, with total sales up 1.4% to £278.2m.

Like-for-like sales in the UK, which exclude new store openings, were down 0.1%.

It blamed the fall on "slow sales" in January and February after a "positive Christmas trading period".

However, the wine chain said its market share was its highest ever at 4.2% and that its number of active customers had risen 2.9% to 643,000.

"This not only demonstrates our ability to hold share in a challenging environment but also the potential for us to continue to grow," said chairman Phil Wrigley.

The firm opened 13 new stores during the year bringing the total to 206, and said long term it planned to have 330 stores.

Online sales increased 5.8%, representing 11.4% of its total UK retail sales.

Majestic said it planned to invest to grow online sales further, as well as expand its sales to business customers.

It said investing in these areas meant profit for the 2015 financial year would be flatter, but that it expected a return to profit growth from 2016.

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