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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Majestic toasts higher profits
Majestic warehouse
Majestic opened seven new stores last year
Majestic has proved there is still plenty of fizz left in its wine warehouse chain by reporting a jump in sales and profits.

The chain uncorked a 38% increase in pre-tax profits before exceptional items of 8.3m.

Sales rose by 20% to 125.7m, and the firm said it was confident it could keep growing.

"We believe Majestic is in a strong position to attract new customers and continue to increase market share."

Expansion plans

Majestic opened seven new stores last year and said trading would begin at its 107th store at St John's Wood in London next month.

It added that it now envisages being able to open 175 stores in the UK, up from its previous estimate of 150.

Like-for-like sales - which strip out the effect of new store openings - were up 9.7% last year, and in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year have risen 8.1%, a rate which Majestic described as "very satisfactory".

The average bottle of wine bought at the stores cost 5.30, which is 36% above the market average of 3.89.

Majestic said it had successfully relaunched its warehouse outlets in France.

The company owns three Beer and Wine outlets at Calais and Cherbourg, and it said sales there had surged 27.7% during the first ten weeks of the financial year compared with a year earlier.

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