City likes niche retailers says Majestic's Lewis

Drinks retailers remain attractive investment prospects despite the economic conditions, according to Majestic’s chief executive Steve Lewis.

The head of the publicly-listed company said the City was receptive to specialist players “who understood their market” and delivered long-term sustainability.

Majestic is due to report its latest  trading figures next month. Last year, to March 29, 2010, its pre-tax profits rose 117% to £16 million on turnover of £233.2 million.

Latest Nielsen statistics show Majestic has grown its share of the wine market from 3.5% to 3.9% in the past year. 

Lewis told OLN investors were still interested in backing retailers with a clear strategy. He said: “The operators around now know what they are doing. The City tends to view the off-trade as either [generalist] retail or specialist niche retailers. A lot of generalist retailers are having a difficult time, so if you are doing quite well, you stand out. 

“There is a real opportunity for niche, specialist wine retailers who understand who they are, their customers and are in the right location. It’s not all about price. The City’s outlook is to value businesses with a sustainable approach.”

Lewis said the last year had seen “big investments” in its online business, which is now growing in double-digits and contributes 10% of overall turnover. 

“We have made big moves into social media, increased the size of the team and carried out a strategic review of the website. The challenge is not about achieving growth, but managing it.”

He added that a planned head office and warehouse move in 2014 would not disrupt operations.

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