One small change made a huge different to Majestic Wine's sales and shares are going nuts

Majestic Wine, Britain’s biggest wine retailer, had a good Christmas.

The company said on Thursday that sales jumped by 42.6% between 27 October and 4 January. Most of that came from the acquisition of online rival Naked Wines in the year, but if you strip that out sales were still up by 12.2%.

In Majestic Retail — its network of stores that flog bottles to everyday shoppers — sales jumped by 7.3%. That’s a huge improvement on the same quarter last year, when sales fell by 1.7%. Majestic Retail is by far the biggest part of the business, generating £231 million of the company’s £364 million in revenue so far this year.

So what’s behind the turnaround? A pretty simple change. Back in October Majestic announced that it was changing the way it sold wine. This involved pricing its stock more competitively and, crucially, shifting from a 6 bottle minimum to letting people buy individual bottles.

That’s helped transform Majestic from being somewhere you visit once or twice a year to stock up for a party or Christmas, to a regular shop you can pop by on the way home from work to grab a bottle.

Majestic Wine CEO Rowan Gormley says in today’s statement:

This is an encouraging result. Majestic Commercial and Naked Wines continued to grow strongly, and I am particularly heartened to see the Majestic Retail business grow as the impact of our better pricing, better service and better-looking stores starts to take effect. However there is still much to do. We are only three months into our three-year plan and although this performance is pleasing it is too early to call it a trend.

Majestic Wine sales are up over 8% this morning — a very Merry Christmas!

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