Nicolas managers report better business

13 July, 2007

Former Oddbins stores are doing better under Castel's French format.

Former Oddbins shops converted to the Nicolas fascia are enjoying increased sales, store managers have reported.

The majority of Nicolas managers contacted by OLN said they had benefited from parent company Castel's decision to convert to the French-focused format.

One said: "They way they do things is very different to Oddbins - they make more money. Head office is not scared to put money into the shop and to have decent stock - it's a fantastic move."

Another said: "Trade had been flat and whatever business we lost we picked up from changing to Nicolas. I get better support from head office than Oddbins ever did."

Many managers said specialising in French wines - which are 95 per cent of Nicolas' offering - attracts customers who want a change . One said: "You can get New World wine everywhere. Customers are loving the fact we specialise and they can find more unusual wines."

Another said his sales had benefited from having an Oddbins in the same area. "It can be very complementary. We send customers to each other," he said.

An Oddbins spokeswoman confirmed 10 more Oddbins stores are earmarked for conversion. The rebranding will then be complete, leaving the UK with around 160 Oddbins and 80 Nicolas. She refused to speculate on whether 40 more Oddbins conversions are in the pipeline, as suggested to OLN by a store manager.

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