Wine Rack sets its sights on 100 outlets

21 January, 2011

Wine Rack plans to have 30 shops by the end of this year and hopes to have 100 in the future. The chain opened 10 shops in 2010, giving it a current estate of 23 after it took over just 13 shops from First Quench Retailing in late 2009.

This year chairman Laki Christoforou is looking for bigger sites, around 2,500sq m, with parking a must, he told OLN.

“They should be destination shops but still keep us pretty much in the high street, not outside town centres,” he said.

The bigger shops will have room for a dedicated tasting area, where tastings can be held all week long. At the moment Wine Rack shops hold tastings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Christoforou wants the bigger outlets to have more of a wine warehouse feel, with some pallets on the floor, but will still let customers buy by the bottle.

“There will be a much bigger range of wines than they can buy anywhere else,” he said. “We are up to about 700 wines now. We have reduced the branded offer drastically from when I took over 13 months ago.”?He said his long-term plan to have 100 shops was in its early days. “We have just passed the one-year mark. We’ve got to where we want to be on the structure, logistics, IT, promotions and websites.

“Now we have done all that we can concentrate a bit more on the expansion side.

“I want to have 30 good stores by the end of this year. That will allow us to know what we are going to do. The first 30 or 40 are the hard ones. Once you know the model is right you can just roll them out across the UK.”?He added: “I originally wanted to open more stores this year but because we are opening bigger ones we have got to make sure we have the right location and set them up correctly, because for us whether we run a small or big store it’s still the same headache, the same management and so on, but a larger store will take more money.”?The chain’s website, winerack.co.uk, is now up and running and will be ready for e-commerce by the end of March.




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