By Claire West

Majestic Wine PLC (“Majestic”), the UK’s largest wine warehouse chain, today announced its interim results for the 26 weeks ended 27 September 2010.

Profit before tax increased by 20.0% to £7.3m (2009: £6.1m) and total sales were up 10.2% to £117.6m (2009: £106.7m).
Commenting on the results Steve Lewis, Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that Majestic has achieved profit growth of 20.0% in the half year and I am very encouraged that we have been able to attract so many new customers.”

Online sales increased 8.3% on last year and now represent 9.1% of UK retail sales which is not surprising but perhaps there is an economic indicator present in that sales of fine wine continued to increase, with sales of still wine priced at £20 and above increasing by 20.2% on last year.

Highlights

Profit before tax increased by 20.0% to £7.3m (2009: £6.1m).
Interim dividend increased 17.9% to 3.3p net per share.
Total sales up 10.2% to £117.6m (2009: £106.7m).
Like for like sales in UK retail stores up 7.6%.
Substantial increase in active customers, up 14.0% to 496,000.
Online sales increased 8.3% on last year and now represent 9.1% of UK retail sales.
Sales of fine wine continued to increase, with sales of still wine priced at £20 and above increasing by 20.2% on last year.
Two new stores in Redhill and Windsor. Since the end of September we have opened in Totnes, Ashbourne, Bracknell, Canterbury, Cobham and a second store in Cardiff.
We now operate from 160 stores in the UK and aim to enlarge Majestic to at least 250 locations.
Lay & Wheeler, our fine wine specialist, enjoyed considerable success selling en primeur wines from the highly regarded 2009 Bordeaux vintage.
Wine and Beer World in France recorded sales growth of 22.9% on constant currency basis.
In the six weeks from 28 September to 8 November 2010, like for like sales in our UK stores up 7.4%.