The UK arm of New York-based e-commerce wine website Lot18 is to close after only four months.
In a statement the Lot18, whose US operation claims to have nearly 1m members and which last year raised just under US$45m in venture capital, said it would close at the end of the week.
The power of UK supermarkets made it impossible for them to compete, the statement said.
Lot18’s business model is to source difficult-to-find parcels of wine and supply them to as limited-time offers to members.
‘UK wine lovers who came to us early on stayed with us, and continued to buy wines from Lot18. They liked that we brought something different to the UK wine scene, which remains the most competitive in the world.
‘Unfortunately, the supermarkets’ stranglehold on the UK market proved too powerful for us to compete with and we have not experienced the anticipated growth rate.’
Lot18 said the rapid closure of the UK arm, which opened at the end of February this year, was ‘to ensure that the financial and logistical expenses of UK operations don’t slow Lot18’s excellent progress in the US.’
‘There, Lot18 has just under 1 million members, and just sold its millionth bottle.’
All six UK employees will lose their jobs. Lot18 said it would ‘remain active elsewhere in Europe, South America and Australasia, sourcing truly exceptional wines for its members.’
There is also a French site, which launched two months ago after a deal with e-commerce site Vinobest, and as of February had 120,000 members.
At the time of writing it has not been possible to contact any of the Lot18 offices.
Written by Adam Lechmere