UK wine group Unwins has announced sweeping redundancies as part of a major restructure.

The group, which has over 450 stores concentrated in the south of England, is losing 100 personnel including several senior members of staff.

According to a press release this is ‘the first part of a business development strategy designed to arm the company with key competitive advantages in a difficult market sector.’

The company had been examining options for more than a year, CEO David Wetz said. ‘Any business has to embrace and manage change. In order to succeed and grow the company, we have had to make some difficult decisions – this week’s head count reduction among them.’

Wetz cannot as yet reveal which members of staff will be leaving the company, but the redundancies will be ‘far reaching across the group,’ he said.

He also confirmed to decanter.com that no stores would be closing, over and above last year’s disposal programme in which some 30 stores were put on the market. ‘There are no immediate plans for more store disposal,’ he said.

It is likely that Unwins will also lose some of its brands. The company exclusively distributes around 20 labels including Burgundy house Bichot, Calem port, Ramos sherry, California wine producer Wente, whiskies, liqueurs, London Dry Gin, cognac and brandy.

‘They are part of an ongoing rationalisation programme,’ Wetz said. ‘This will include revisiting the portfolio. There is a possibility that we will lose some brands.’

Written by Adam Lechmere7 February 2002