Old-established London merchant Justerini & Brooks is to close its high-street operations to concentrate on selling direct to the consumer.

The 250-year-old fine wine merchant is closing its shops in St James’s St in London, and in Edinburgh. The London premises will be refurbished to house a ‘Premium Club Team’ which will focus on marketing a range of products direct to the customer. The Edinburgh operation will be moved to new premises.

A press statement says, ‘While every effort will be made to re-deploy staff, there will be a total of 11 redundancies in Scotland.’

The changes have been prompted by a reduction in tourism following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, and consolidation within the hotel and catering industry. J&B has decided as a result to concentrate on its core private client business.

‘While this focus will shift to concentrate on “direct to consumer” sales, trade will continue with profitable and prestigious hotel and restaurant accounts, particularly in Scotland, without them being a core part of the future strategy,’ the statement says.

J&B says the direct-to-consumer service can be run more profitably from a new location in Edinburgh. The company’s Maybury depot will be closed and distribution for Scottish business will be contracted out.

Managing director Edward Demery told decanter.com, ‘J&B’s wine list will not change. Direct marketing will increase sales within the core £6-15 (€10-25) price range.’

Written by Adam Lechmere15 April 2002