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‘eBay for wine’ drives bumper internet sales for Berry Bros

London wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd is celebrating a £25m bumper year for internet sales – with social media playing an increasingly important role in the company's business.

BBR: ‘never too old for the web’

’ web-based sales topped £25m during 2011, up 72% on 2010 as the company reaped the rewards from the launch of its online broking service, Berrys’ Broking Exchange (BBX).

BBX, which allows customers to buy and sell wines held in Berrys’ UK bonded warehouse, outstripped the company’s own expectations, selling wines worth £13.2m during 2011, its first full year of operation following its launch in August 2010.

Berrys’ main retail site, bbr.com, which lists more than 3,000 wines, recorded sales of £12m, up 7%, including £1.7m in December.

Highlights included the site’s biggest single transaction, £69,000 for 12 bottles each of Chateaux Margaux, Lafite, Haut-Brion and Pétrus; and £8,083 for an impérial (six-litre bottle) of Lafite 2010.

‘I think we’ve shown that, even at the age of 314, you’re never too old to get to grips with the web,’ company chairman Simon Berry said.

‘The investment we have made in BBX is really paying off, with better-than-expected sales of wines. By creating, in effect, an eBay for fine wine, we feel we’re potentially changing the way that collectors and investors trade fine wines.’

The year also saw Berrys’ biggest social media sale, when a customer spent £20,000 on wine following Twitter advice from sales director and Bordeaux buyer Simon Staples.

Written by Richard Woodard

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