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19 November, 2012 - 09:51 By News Desk

UK drinks away the blues

Steve Lewis

The wettest summer on record and a gloomy economic backdrop sent UK households looking for solace in the shape of a bottle by the look of Majestic Wine’s interim results.

The Watford headquartered business, which is the UK's largest wine specialist, saw profit and like-for-like sales increase in the 26 weeks to October 1.

Pre-tax profit was 3.9 per cent ahead to £9.2 million and the interim dividend increased 5.3 per cent to 4p per share.

Like for like sales in UK retail stores were up 0.6 per cent and Majestic Wine reported an 11.2 per cent increase in active customers to 594,000.

Online sales rose 14 per cent on last year and now represent 9.8 per cent of UK retail sales. Nine new stores opened in the period and two more since the end of September, bringing Majestic’s chain to 189 stores.

Lay & Wheeler, the firm’s fine wine specialist, recorded profit before interest and tax of £506k (2011: £292k). Majestic Wine Calais recorded profit before interest and tax of £817k (2011: £658k).

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: “These results, achieved in a challenging economic environment and the wettest summer on record, display the resilience of the Majestic business. I am pleased that so many new customers are choosing to shop with Majestic.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Steve Lewis

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