The estate – which includes Spirited Wines and Nicolas stores – now stands at 39, and owner Benoit Thouvenin told OLN the closures should be over “unless we have a bad rent review”.
In 2011 Thouvenin took over 14 Nicolas stores based outside the M25, and quickly axed four underperforming shops.
A year later he bought the chain’s remaining 43 stores, all within Greater London. Some kept the Nicolas name while others became Spirited Wines.
But Thouvenin said: “We had to close shops, mainly outside London, because of competition and the fact that landlords didn’t feel they have to put the rent down if stores are not popular. The business wasn’t able to take that challenge.”
Thouvenin added that some of the stores were in such good locations rents kept rising and Spirited was forced out in favour of high-margin businesses such as boutique clothes stores.
One Nicolas store inside the M25 is due to reopen shortly after being shut for 10 months as Spirited negotiated with landlords.
More leases are due to be finalised over the coming weeks, but Thouvenin said talks have been tough.