Majestic boss admits growth must speed up

04 April, 2014

Majestic’s boss has admitted it needs to accelerate growth after suffering a “disappointing setback” following an extended profit warning which caused its shares to plummet.

Steve Lewis warned City investors sales for the year to March 31 were flat due to an unusually quiet start to 2014 that had taken the business by surprise.

He also announced a series of planned investments in its infrastructure which were part of a strategy to return to growth.

He told OLN: “I don’t think we should be in any doubt that we have slowed down in the last year and we need to get going faster.

We have a saying in the business: ‘If not now, then when?’ Because we really feel this is our moment. Our performance this year was OK, but it needs to be better.

“Christmas was fine and then we were caught by surprise at how quiet January was. Things have picked up in the last few weeks but our experience over the last 12 months is there are peaks and troughs, and it’s about getting rid of the troughs.

“We managed to maintain market share, but we want to grow it.”

He said it needed to be “more cautious” about trade, adding it would pump funds into a new distribution facility and head office as well as bringing its online developers in-house to ramp up web sales faster.

Lewis has also committed to a new manager training programme which will double the number of staff attending a two-day course to 80.

He said it would push ahead with its expansion programme as Ilkley, west Yorkshire, opened this week.

Investec retail analyst Kate Calvert said despite Majestic’s shares tumbling nearly 20% on the back of its profit statement, it was confident of a turnaround.

She said: “This was a disappointing setback. In our view, its growth opportunities remain unchanged, driven by the store roll out programme, online and its commercial business.”

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