WINE retailer Majestic has expanded its corporate team in Scotland as it tries to grab a larger slice of the on-trade market.
Chief executive Steve Lewis told The Scotsman that the Aim-quoted company had hired a business development manager to cover Glasgow and the west coast to compliment its existing worker serving Edinburgh and the Highlands.
“We’re targeting gastro-pubs, bars and restaurants,” said Lewis. “We’re also targeting wedding venues around Aberdeen and Inverness, which is our highest-turnover store in Scotland.”
His comments came as Majestic yesterday posted a 4.2 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 September to £9.5 million, despite the firm coming up against tough comparisons with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the fall of Easter in the previous year.
Like-for-like sales fell by 0.4 per cent, but Lewis said the final 17 weeks of the period had recorded 3 per cent like-for-like sales growth as the tough comparisons passed and the good weather boosted demand, with sales of Italian sparkling wine prosecco soaring by 39 per cent.
Lewis added: “We’re not seeing people swapping sparkling wine for Champagne, instead they are switching into spark-ling wine from still wine.”
Majestic will run more promotions in the run-up to Christmas than it did last year, but Lewis dismissed suggestions that the move would eat into margins, instead highlighting the firm’s increased buying power.
The firm is one of the few Aim stocks to pay a dividend and has increased its half-year payout by 5 per cent to 4.2p.