Oddbins stores to receive first revamp in 17 years

17 May, 2013

Oddbins is set to undergo its first overhaul in 17 years with a new look across stores as its owner pledges to make the chain profitable by 2015.

Managing director Ayo Akintola has earmarked funds to revamp the chain with a pilot store opening this summer and a full roll out planned across the 35-strong estate.

He said the investment in store refits was vital to achieving his target of getting the business out of the red after it reported a pre-tax loss of £1.1 million in the 10 months to January 31, 2012.

Akintola told OLN: “It’s been on the cards for a while and now that we have stabilised the business I feel comfortable to make the investment. The money [to fund the refits] has been there since day one, but it makes sense to draw it now.

“The estate has not been refurbished and updated in 17 years. It will still be the quirky, rough-and-ready Oddbins style, but more relevant to the high street of 2013, although it won’t be all sleek and ultra-modern.”

He said the refurbishment would be more in tune with shoppers’ needs and include significant changes to the range.

He added: “We want to make it easier for consumers to navigate through the store. It will all be very consumer-cen- tric. In terms of ranging, we will be focusing on what we’ve been doing and offering consistent prices.

“It’s taken a while for consumers to get used to, because before Oddbins used to offer 20% off. Now, if it’s a £6 wine, it will be £6 every day of the week. Some customers come in and say ‘I used to buy six wines and get 20% off’, then walk out.

“I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, but we’ve got to the point now where cus- tomers are beginning to understand and respect what we’re trying to do.

“Shoppers aren’t going to discover wines from China or Afghanistan or anywhere like that. There will be a change to the core range where we look at the number of lines we carry.

“We have two-and-a-half years’ trading under our belt so we know what’s performing and what’s not.”

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