Stratford’s – whose wine portfolio includes Domaines Paul Mas from France, Anakena of Chile and the USA’s Domaine Ste Michelle – said it had struggled with “eroding margins and cash demands”.
FE Barber said Stratford’s would continue to trade as a separate entity out of its Berkshire offices with a clear “business as usual” message to stakeholders.
Managing director Andy Sagar said: “The deal will benefit both parties and provide essential synergies in sales and marketing, buying and the supply chain to grow the business.
“Stratford’s is a well-established agency in the trade, and its experience will be invaluable in our continued effort to provide a total wine solution for all our customers”.
Rob Page, sales and marketing director, added: “We are acquiring some excellent agencies and a distributor with a great reputation.
“Internally our strategy will develop over the next few months to ensure a smooth integration and to drive the business forward”
Accounts for the year to January 31, 2011, lodged at Companies House, showed that Stratford’s made a loss of £176,054, against profit of just over £10,000 the year before.
Turnover fell by 1.7% over the year and the directors’ report described “difficult and competitive trading conditions”.
Profitability was also affected by “increased promotional demands from some national accounts and by incurring £100,000 of exchange losses”.
The company identified Italy and Spain as growth markets and indicated a movement away from “heavy reliance” on sales of Australian wine because of the strong Australian dollar.
The directors also recognised a need to find cost savings in distribution and administration, with target savings of £300,000 in 2011/12.
The report, filed in February this year, said that the directors believed that the company could “rebuild its financial resources through the 2013 reporting year and look forward to a return to profitable trading when its investments in new products begin to yield future sales growth”.