Majestic Wine today announced a two per cent increase in annual pre-tax profits, but sales fell by two per cent due to a drop in wholesale trade.
The firm, which has 193 stores across the UK, posted a pre-tax profit of £23.7 million for the year to 1 April, up from £23.2m the previous year and in line with City forecasts.
Total sales were 2.1 per cent lower at £274.4m, driven lower by the "managed reduction" in its wholesale trade, although like-for-like sales at its UK stores crept up 1 per cent.
Sales of fine wine, at £20 per bottle or above, increased by 9.4% on last year, and there was a "significant" increase of English sparkling wine sales.
"During the year we decided to scale back our exposure to the wholesale drinks market in order to focus on our on-trade customers and as a result total group revenue at £274.4m was £5.9m lower than last year," said chief executive Steve Lewis.
Online sales at the wine merchant increased nearly 15 per cent in the year to the beginning of April. The number of customers who made purchases last year rose by 56,000 to 624,000 and the average spend was the same as the previous year at £128.
Majestic, which introduced 16 new stores in the last financial year, said it plans to open a similar number of stores this financial year, despite slowing sales growth at the group.
"The business in excellent shape and well placed to maximise sales over the important Summer trading period," said chairman Phil Wrigley.
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