Bargain Booze says wine is becoming increasingly important

19 January, 2015

Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Bargain Booze offering after the business overhauled its range, according to chief executive Diana Hunter.

The Conviviality Retail-owned off-licence chain brought in Susan McCraith, a former Waitrose MW, to add gravitas to the range in September 2013 and sales have benefited.

She has overseen a transformation that has added exclusive wines to the retailer’s arsenal, beefed up premium tiers and seen stores merchandised by taste profiles rather than countries.

Hunter told OLN: “We are really pleased with the performance of wine. Our target has been to improve the quality and credibility of our wine.

Wine now makes up 14.8% of sales. When I joined the business two years ago it was 12%. It’s a significant shift in wine sales. It helps customers see us as more of a destination off-licence. Shoppers can get quality bottles of wine at great prices.

“We actually sell more Trivento Argentinian Malbec than Tesco and that’s £8.99. We offer great value at a number of price points.

“The premium tiers are a best-kept secret for us. I don’t think people realise the breadth of the range we have on offer.” 

Conviviality Retail today announced that pre-tax profits grew 47% to £3.2 million during the six months to October 26, 2014.

The group, which also trades under the Wine Rack, Thorougoods and BB’s Warehouse fascias, followed it up with a strong Christmas performance.

It reported that sales grew 2.6% in the fortnight to January 4, 2015, compared to the previous year.

Like-for-like franchise retail sales were up 1.2% during the two-week period.

Hunter said: “I am postitive about the year ahead. The market is positive about convenience shopping and specialist, differentiated retailers.

“Franchisees will recognise they had a profitable Christmas and will have felt the benefit in cash margins.

“The business is turning a corner – we have stabilised sales and we have a better quality business to mature with and grow.” 

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