Wine Rack will not reach target

Wine Rack will fall short of its planned target of reaching 30 stores by the end of 2010.

The chain opens in Radlett, Hertfordshire, on November 18, bringing the estate up to 22, including the Gerry’s specialist spirits stores in London and Leeds. It hopes to open a further two Wine Racks by Christmas.

Ron Booker, retail operations and commercial manager, said the company wanted to take its time to ensure it got the right sort of sites rather than settling for rapid expansion through locations that didn’t fully fit the bill.

“We’re going to fall short, but in the current market we don’t want to be taking too many unnecessary risks with acquisitions,” said Booker. “Radlett fits the bill for what we’re looking for – it’s a bigger store at about 1,500 sq ft and has parking front and back.

“If we can find the right sorts of stores we can get up to 50-100, which we’ve said before is where we want to be. We want a bigger presence in London and to keep the south east as the main focus.”

Wine Rack unveiled a range review with 80-plus new wines at a press tasting in London this week.

Booker said: “The biggest job in stores has been the range change. We had a lot of stock come with the original acquisition of stores from the First Quench administration but this has now sold through, which meant we could do some new things. We sourced a lot of new wines at Vinexpo this year.”

The chain is yet to launch its transactional website, scheduled for earlier this year, but Booker said it was “not a million miles away”.

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