Majestic toasts Christmas sales record

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Leading UK-based wine merchant Majestic Wines enjoyed a 10.4 per
cent sales boost this Christmas, citing consumer demand for premium
products as the key to success.

Majestic, which owns Britain's largest wine warehouse and store network, saw like-for-like sales soar in the nine weeks to January 2, marking an excellent 2005 for the firm.

"We are pleased with our sales performance over the Christmas period. Wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Spain, Chile and New Zealand sold very well, and Champagne sales grew strongly,"​ said a company spokesperson.

The company, which operates 124 shops throughout England and three in Northern France, saw last year's pre-tax profits rise 18 per cent despite the British retail sector deceleration.

Its fine wine sales boomed, with a 43 per cent rise in demand for bottles costing £20 and above, reflecting a shift in the mature British alcohol market as premiumisation continues to drive growth.

Rising disposable incomes and higher aspirations have encouraged consumers to drink less but spend more on better quality beverages.

Datamonitor's beverage analyst John Band told​: "From our figures it is clear to see that people in Britain are willing to splash out on premium brands - quality wines are definitely driving growth in the market."

"People can get cheap good wine from supermarkets, and as a result the higher priced mass market wine is suffering. Premium brands are stepping in to fill that demand for high quality high-priced product,"​ he added.

Majestic's first push into the fine wine market came in 2003 with the opening of the temperature-controlled Fine Wine Centre at a key London branch.

It has now installed new fine-wine display areas in three stores, with 10 more planned this coming year.

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