New buyers for Oddbins

Oddbins has promoted Claire Illingworth and Julie Buckley to buyers, following a training period for both women.

The duo will head up the Oddbins buying team in the absence of head buyer Emma Nichols, who takes maternity leave in March for an expected six months.

Buckley has responsibility for the Americas, Portugal, the Rhône, Alsace and Burgundy as well as beer, tobacco and sundries. Illingworth is in charge of buying for Bordeaux, Beaujolais, the Loire, regional France, central Europe, South Africa and spirits.

Nichols said: "The plans for my areas are to try to tie everything up before I ­finish. There's been a lot of work done in the past year on the range, and not changing promotions every month makes it easier to plan for the year."

Oddbins is likely to extend its own-label wine range this year following the success of its generic red and white wines sourced from parent company Castel.

Nichols said the emphasis would be on classic French appellations such as Sancerre and Châte auneuf-du-Pape, with the launches appearing in different packaging and commanding higher prices than the current own-labels. She added it was likely, but not certain, that the wines would be sourced from Castel.