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Naked Wines' owner Majestic says Christmas was "more difficult than expected"

PUBLISHED: 11:23 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:29 09 January 2019

Majestic wine warehouse on Dereham Road, Norwich Photo: Bill Smith

Majestic wine warehouse on Dereham Road, Norwich Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2009

Majestic Wine has revealed that the Christmas trading period was more difficult than expected.

The company, which owns Norwich based Naked Wines, as well as having its own outlet in Dereham Road, said that although it had seen an increase of 1.5% in retail sales, gross margins had been driven down by 1.2% given the “very price promotional market”.

Total sales were 6.3% higher in the 10 weeks to December 31, accelerating from the 3.2% growth rate seen this time last year.

Naked Wines has been a major player in Majestic’s growth, attributing for a 15.9% increase in growth this year.

Chief executive Rowan Gormley said changes in consumer behaviour were driving a retail revolution.

“We think there will be winners and losers, and we believe we have what it takes to be one of the winners. We are uniquely placed, with the people, data and skills in place to succeed, despite the headwinds we are seeing,” he said.

The crucial Christmas season, in which the group usually delivers around 30% of its annual sales, proved more challenging than expected due to economic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence.

However, Majestic said it still expects to report annual profits in line with market expectations.

Shares in the company inched 1.2% higher in early trading.

The retailer revealed in November that it was responding to the uncertainty around Brexit by stockpiling £8 million worth of wine.

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