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Tim How to step down at Majestic

Majestic Wines chief executive Tim How has announced plans to retire in the next 12 months after nearly 20 years in charge of the hugely successful wine retailer.

Current chief operating officer Steve Lewis will replace How, who has presided over a period of continuous growth since he and two former colleagues from frozen food retailer Bejam started Majestic in 1989.

How told The Daily Telegraph that he had been planning to step down for a while. ‘The most important thing was to ensure that the business was in good hands after I left,’ he said. ‘We have been planning this for two years. I felt that in my late 50s it would be a good time to move on.’

Majestic was floated on the AIM market in 1996, when its annual sales were £40m and profits £1.2m. By last year, those figures had risen to £191.2m and £16.2m respectively.

Majestic’s success has been built on the groundbreaking idea of selling wine by the mixed case, creating an average consumer spend – £123 per transaction and £5.75 per bottle – which is the envy of other retailers.

The company’s growth has been in stark contrast to rival drinks retailers, which have struggled to survive amid fierce competition from supermarkets.

Oddbins, once the doyen of multiple wine merchants, recently announced plans to ape the Majestic model by selling wine by the case from 47 branches later this year.

How has indicated that he plans to accept a number of non-executive directorships, as well as spending more time at his house on the north Norfolk coast.

Written by Richard Woodard

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