Supermarket competition has decimated the wine retail trade in recent years, with the loss of chains like Oddbins and Thresher, so it is heartening to see that Majestic Wine, the UK's largest wine specialist is prospering. Today it reported H1 results to 26 September with sales up 8.7% to £127.8 million, and pre-tax profits up 20% to £8.8 million.

During the half year Majestic opened eight new stores in Evesham, Weston-Super-Mare, near Bristol, Fleet, Livingston in Edinburgh, Hale, Dundee, Worthing and Bury St Edmunds.  Since the end of September they have opened in Clitheroe, Ripon and Braintree.  There are further openings in Chesterfield and in West Kirby on the Wirral later in the year which will bring the total number of stores trading in the UK to 176.

In 2009 Majestic bought Lay and Wheeler, family owned by the Wheeler family since 1833, based at Holton St Mary in Suffolk,  to feed fine wine display areas in the Majestic warehouses.  The firm was unable to repeat the success of the 2009 Bordeaux "en primeur" campaign in 2010, though due to the nature of the business, profits are deferred until delivery during 2013/14.

Majestic has had more success in Calais and Cherbourg where sales in constant currency grew 4.6% last year.