Wine demand helps Majestic profits

Image caption,
Majestic's boss said demand for more expensive wine remained strong.

Majestic Wine has seen its half-year profits grow by 20% as it said it continued to benefit from slashing its minimum order from 12 bottles to six.

The firm also conceded it had been helped by reduced competition on the High Street.

That followed the First Quench group - behind brands including Threshers - going into administration and closing hundreds of stores.

Majestic made pre-tax profits of £7.3m in the six months to 27 September.

Overall group sales rose 10.2% to £117.6m.

'Love affair'

The firm saw a strong rise in demand for its more expensive wine - priced in excess of £20 per bottle.

"People are prepared to spend quite a bit on a good, interesting, compelling bottle of wine," chief executive Steve Lewis told the BBC.

"If you spend £20 in a restaurant, you'll get quite an ordinary bottle of wine, so we're seeing people buying good quality wine to drink at home."

He added that it was wrong to think that "everyone is in austerity", citing "an enduring British love affair with food and wine".

Majestic said that, despite reducing the minimum order in September, the average transaction had only decreased by 7.2% to £122.

The group has 160 UK stores, plus a French business - Wine and Beer World - which has two outlets, one on in Calais and the other in Cherbourg.

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