The drinks retailerís accounts show that turnover dropped to £61.1 million in the year to Jan 28 2007, compared to £70.6 million the previous year. Pre-tax losses increased by £9,000 to £1.45 million,
In a report filed with the accounts, director Jacob Jebreel said the sale of the retailerís under-performing Wine Cellar-branded shops during 2005 and 2006 had hit overall sales, but like-for-likes were up by 5.4 per cent. The companyís trading performance had improved, Jebreel noted, as operating losses Ė which exclude interest payments and profits from asset sales Ė had decreased by £629,000 to £1.57 million.
Development of the retailerís Simply Food and Drinks convenience brand had helped drive growth, Jebreel added. By the end of 2007, Wine Cellar will have opened 28 branches of Simply Food & Drinks.
Wine Cellarís traditional territory is Englandís West Midlands and north west, but it has pushed out of its heartland during 2007 in a partnership with convenience specialist Martin McColl. Around 220 Martin McColl shops have been spruced up with Booze Buster sections and joint branding, and more could follow in 2008.