Majestic Wine, Britain's biggest specialist wine retailer, has announced that from Tuesday (October 27th), it will be scrapping its minimum purchase rule.
The company's new chief executive Rowan Gormley, who took over in April, is trying to lure back customers to the chain of wine shops. Now, customers will be able to buy single bottles in store and online. The company has also promised more clarity in its pricing, after customers said its offers were too complicated.
According to Majestic, it has been experimenting with allowing single-bottle purchases in some stores over the past few months. The company says the changes have been popular among both new and existing customers.
Majestic was launched in 1980 in a warehouse in Wood Green, north London. At the time, the company only sold wines by the case. In 2009, the minimum purchase was reduced by half to six bottles – at the time, this was a popular move. Now, Mr Gormley says that a minimum purchase is an out-of-date rule, especially considering the fierce competition from the big supermarkets, as well as discount retailers like Aldi and Lidl.
"Our customers were telling us that they wanted simpler, clearer pricing, and an end to the six-bottle minimum. There are now no barriers to shopping at Majestic, the pricing structure is very straightforward and I’m sure our customers will see this as a great move," he said.
Mr Gormley took over the firm after the company bought his Naked Wines online business. Naked Wines had experienced a chain of poor results, including over the Christmas period.
In June, he said that Majestic had suffered from a variety of problems, including cost-cutting and outdated computer systems. He also said the company had a forbidding image due to its minimum purchase rule, complicated offers and appearance of stores. At the time, he reckoned it would take three years to revive the business.
On Tuesday morning, shares in Majestic Wine were down slightly. At 09:45 (BST), they were valued at 349.50 compared to a previous close of 351.50.
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