Jeroboams announced major expansion plan

Jeroboams has revealed plans to expand its estate of London wine stores to 12 over the next four to five years. Managing director Hugh Sturges, who joined the business from Berry Bros & Rudd in 2015, told OLN he wants to open two shops this year, one by the end of 2018 then potentially a new store every 18 months.

In terms of locations, Jeroboams currently has its sights set on suburbs including Wimbledon and Sheen, which have the right demographics and rents.

“I have also thought about going east, so we are looking to see if there are opportunities around Canary Wharf,” Sturges said. “ I don’t think there are many strong wine retailers around there but rents will also need to be considered.

“The store itself is important because it needs to have a basement, or an upstairs area. The right building won’t necessarily sail out of the sky but I do feel that unit availability is currently good in the places we have our eyes on.

“I am a great believer in local business. I believe people don’t want to shop in multiple retailers if they can avoid it. If we can get 5%-10% of the wine spend from people who live one mile from the shop then that is just fine.” Currently the seven-strong

Jeroboams has two models of stores. Its SW1 stores have a lower footfall but are more attractive to the retailer’s wealthier clients, while stores in “London villages”, such as Hampstead and Notting Hill, have a broader demographic. The latter model is the format the company wants to roll out further.

Sturges said: “There are other London villages where that model will fit. The idea will be that if we can build a local community we can attract people into shops. But then we can also work on attracting private customers, where we can supply their individual wine cellars, for example. This gives us the opportunity to look beyond the profits just from walk-in customers.

“And that is why I think we are able to do better than others – effectively we are a one-stop wine shop for people who live in that area. We cater for people who want wine to go with their pizza right through to those who want their wine cellar looking right.

“We want to do this all through the shop front in places that have right kinds of communities. They need to have a bit of a high street, the semblance of a village and be somewhere we can work closely with other shops in that area.

“The downside is that I don’t want to make the chain too big. We don’t want to be another Thresher or Oddbins, so there is a limit to how many stores we can have.”

Sturges first job at Jeroboams was to improve morale and implement a business strategy.

“The company didn’t really have any clear business strategy but now on the retail side it is particularly clear what we want to achieve. We are branding ourselves as London’s local wine merchant.”

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