Majestic Wine, the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, confirms plans for future growth – alongside revealing details of new stores set to open in 2020. The business said its experience of lockdown was partly behind the new strategy.
Despite closing their shop doors to walk in customers during the outbreak, Majestic saw an influx of over 150,000 new customers utlising their local delivery service, which is run through a nationwide store van network of over 240 vehicles. Searches for the business were also up a record 3,500% according to Google. This allowed the business to increase its market share during the first 6 months of 2020.
Whilst the online channel of the business saw an increase in sales of over 300% throughout lockdown, Majestic added that this demand had been offset by additional costs, as well as the significant reduction in business in the Commercial arm (Majestic’s business to business arm) and Calais stores.
Majestic is in a unique position as the country’s only nationwide specialist wine retailer. CEO John Colley said the performance of its stores in adapting to lockdown conditions was one of the key driving factors behind the new strategy.
“I would like to extend my utmost thanks to my colleagues who have been incredible at adapting and working safely through this time. Now we have the vision and strategy to take the company forward as one team, and I am convinced that this forty year old company has a really exciting future ahead”.
“Getting back to what we do best is the absolute cornerstone of our plan to grow Majestic. Our stores are at the centre of who we are and what we do. The way they adapted to working as delivery hubs meant we were able to come through lockdown in good shape. Who knows what the future will hold, but I feel confident that a new strategy based around stores is the best one for us.” explains John Colley, CEO at Majestic.
Alongside the plan to open new sites, the retailer is also committing to redouble its staff training – with every Majestic colleague to receive industry leading WSET training by Christmas – alongside the launch of a new website and EPOS platform by Autumn this year.
Now in private ownership following the break up of Naked and Majestic PLC last year, Majestic believes that a sensible investment model will provide long term stability for the business – as well as reversing a trend which has seen the retailer’s profit number slide significantly over a five year period.
“There is still absolutely a role for bricks and mortar wine retail in this country, particularly when backed up by a first rate range and the right focus with our hugely experienced and trained store colleagues. When you couple that with a leading online proposition, you have a unique position. The recent unprecedented situation has shown what a special business Majestic is, with more customers than ever before discovering the service, expertise and range we have to offer in our stores – even when our doors were closed.”
CEO John Colley on lockdown buying patterns:
“It’s fair to say that the lockdown has accelerated some trends which have been in evidence for a while around this. Customers’ shopping habits are definitely moving multi-channel; to shop via the platform or route which serves them best at any one time, this may be home delivery, click and collect or a visit to stores. We have seen a big increase in new and existing customers using our website and free delivery capability. However, as the UK’s largest nationwide specialist, it’s the ability of our stores to offer free delivery, tailored recommendations and hold bespoke ranges which has been so pivotal to weathering COVID.
As we come out of lockdown, we’re seeing customers who have discovered us as an online retailer over the past couple of months now visiting our stores – and getting the true Majestic experience. If anything, this has given us more confidence in the role of our bricks and mortar arm, and it’s ability to offer a truly multi-channel experience for our customers. We think that the future will not be about one channel or the other, but instead having the best possible service across all channels for our customers to experience and discover.”