Majestic, the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, has today toasted the second-biggest Christmas trading performance in its history.
Total sales increased 21.1% during the eight weeks to December 26, compared to 2019 pre-Covid levels. Sales rose 0.2% vs 2021 as Majestic achieved its highest-ever market share despite heavy promotional activity across supermarkets.
In a challenging market, Majestic highlighted their work to keep a lid on inflationary pressures for customers; with prices across wines, beers and spirits cheaper by 2% compared to last year in order to help consumers meet the cost of living challenge.
Customers left it to the very last minute this year, with the retailer recording the busiest ever trading day in its 42-year history on December 23, as shoppers flocked to stores to stock up before Christmas and New Year.
Majestic, which now operates more than 200 stores across the UK, highlighted sparkling wine and champagne sales as key drivers of its festive figures as corks popped at the return of office parties and family get-togethers. Top-sellers included English Sparkling wine (up 19%), Cava (up 29%) and ‘classical’ French regions, while the timing of the winter World Cup also drove a year-on-year increase in beer sales.
The performance marks another year of transformation for Majestic, which was originally founded in 1980 and moved back to private ownership in 2019 after separating from Naked Wines Plc. Since then, following the reintroduction of old management and with the backing of Fortress Investment Group, Majestic has returned to growth and stability. In contrast to many retailers it has invested in physical retail, opening 12 new stores during the past three years. Majestic Commercial - the on-trade arm of Majestic - has also celebrated a post-pandemic recovery with more than 400 new bars, pubs and restaurants signed up during the year.
Continuing the investment in physical retail, Majestic has plans to open five new stores in 2023 - including new sites in Harpenden, Bournemouth and Saltash - as part of a wider aim to add 20 branches to its portfolio.
Commenting on the results and the outlook for 2023, CEO John Colley said:
“Despite a very tough trading environment and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, Majestic achieved a strong Christmas performance which is significantly higher than pre-covid levels. Even when budgets are tight, our discerning customers demonstrated that the value, expertise, quality, experience and delivery service of Majestic means we are the best place for customers to find wines they will love.
“Majestic colleagues across all our stores, distribution network and support centre pulled out all the stops to make it a successful peak period for the business. My huge thanks goes to all of our customers, colleagues and suppliers.
“We are under no illusions as to how tough the next 12 months will be, but I am more confident than ever that we have the right strategy and backing in place to emerge from the cost-of-living crisis as an even stronger business.”