Wine retailer Majestic is celebrating its ‘biggest ever Christmas’ after festive sales rose by more than 15%, with Prosecco, gin and Rhône wines among the highlights.

Like-for-like sales at Majestic’s retail division in the 10 weeks ending 2 January rose 7.5%, on top of a 7.3% increase last year, with reported sales up 6.2%. The period accounts for about 30% of the company’s total annual sales.

The news follows a difficult few months for the retailer and it helped Majestic’s share price to rise by nearly 5% in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

 

Sales of sparkling wine rose 12% during the festive period, but Champagne sales were only up 3%, and Majestic sold three bottles of Prosecco for every bottle of Champagne.

Gin was another highlight, with sales up 55% on last year, led by strong growth for Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin and Sipsmith Sloe Gin.

Majestic’s Clapham store topped the Christmas spending charts, reporting a record £1m in sales over the 10-week period.

Rhône reds also enjoyed good growth, with sales of Châteauneuf-du-Pape up 8% versus last year.

Majestic is predicting that Portuguese wines will be ‘the next British favourite’ in 2017, after sales rose 160% over Christmas and the country overtook Rioja as the retailer’s best-selling red wine.

Underlying group sales rose by 12.4% for the 10 weeks, with Naked Wines reporting a 29.9% sales increase, while Lay & Wheeler revenues surged up 62.3%, although Majestic Commercial sales were down 0.8%.

Majestic said gross profit was down slightly thanks to the accelerated acquisition of new customers, plus ‘the need to remain competitive in a heavily discounted UK market still coming to terms with recent currency movements’.

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