Majestic Wine to change name and potentially close shops

The CEO of Majestic Wine, in their Mayfair store. London, in 2015. Picture by Guy Bell
The CEO of Majestic Wine, in their Mayfair store. London, in 2015. Picture by Guy Bell

Majestic Wine – which has a number of shops around Sussex – has said it may embark on a store closure plan.

The news emerged as it announced it was rebranding its name to Naked Wines, the name of its online wine retail business which the group bought in 2015.

The specialist wine retailer has not specified the number of outlets it will close, with closures set to be revealed in June.

Currently there are stores in Worthing, Chichester, Brighton, Horsham, Crawley, Lewes, East Grinstead, and Tenterden.

In a series of tweets, Majestic Wine said: “There are no immediate plans to close any of our branches. When we have the full picture in June we will update our customers and people. But for now - please do continue to head into your local Majestic.

“Our people are our biggest asset. We pride ourselves on the wine and retail training we offer, the service our people give and the experience they create. Whatever happens, we’re committed to building a future with, and for, them.

“Brilliant wine is what made Majestic famous in the first place. You will still be able to order our wines online, through your branch or pop in and see us. It’s still us, with your favourite bottle on hand.”

In January Majestic said the crucial Christmas season, in which the group usually delivers around 30 per cent of its annual sales, proved more challenging than expected due to ‘economic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence’.

In the series of tweets today this was touched upon: “The truth is the way you buy wine has moved on, and it’s time we did too,” Majestic Wines said. “Shopping for wine is incredibly different to how it was in the 1980s (when Majestic first began). We’re looking to take what is best from both companies and will update everyone further in June.”

In a statement boss Rowan Gormley has said the company had taken the decision to focus all of its ‘capital and energies into delivering the long-term potential of Naked, and releasing value from Majestic’.

Majestic Wine won the International Wine Challenge award for High Street Chain of the Year in 2018 while Naked Wines made it into the Sunday Times top 100 best small companies to work for in 2018.