East Anglia: Increased profits for Lay & Wheeler owner Majestic Wine

Steve Lewis, chief executive of Majestic Wine

Steve Lewis, chief executive of Majestic Wine - Credit: PA

The UK’s biggest wine specialist today reported a 4.2% increase in first half profits, boosted a further rise in online sales.

Majestic Wine posted a pre-tax profit of £9.5million for the 26 weeks to September 30, up from £9.2m for the same period a year earlier.

Total sales were 3.3% higher at £130.2m, against £126.0m, with online sales 8.3% up on year earlier, helped by the launch of a new website, and now representing 10.3% of UK retail sales.

Three new stores were opened during period with three more having followed since the end of September, bringing the total number to 198.

Like-for-like UK retail sales for the half-year as a whole were down 0.4%, but Majestic said this was due to differences in the timing of Easter and the one-off boost delivered by last year’s Jubilee celebrations.


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For the final 17 weeks of the period, involving comparison with the post-Easter and Jubilee period last year, like-for-like retail sales were up 3.0%.

The group added that Lay & Wheeler, its fine wines business based at Holton St Mary, between Ipswich and Colcheter, had contributed a profit before interest and tax of £575,000, up from £506,000 in last year’s first half.

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However, its Majestic Wine Calais busineshas saw profits slip to £660,000, from £817,000 last time.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: “These results show we continue to make steady progress towards our strategic growth objectives and we are very well prepared for the peak Christmas trading period.”

The interim dividend will rise by 5.0% to 4.2p per share, up from 4.0p at last year’s half way stage.

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