Oddbins to Nicolas switches complete
Published:  02 November, 2007

Castel has completed its conversion of selected Oddbins stores to the Nicolas fascia. The specialist retailer's estate now stands at 173 Oddbins shops and 82 branches of Nicolas,

said Oddbins sales director Andy Gadsby.

In January, the business will start merging its head office functions

and work towards running the two brands under one umbrella, as reported in OLN's July 27 issue. Oddbins and Nicolas sales teams could be merged. It is also

planning to open more shops under both fascias.

Oddbins will not look for a replacement for head buyer Emma Nichols, who left the business last month

just days after returning from maternity leave (OLN

Oct 19).

Castel's head office in France is now responsible for buying French wine for both Oddbins and Nicolas. Oddbins' two remaining UK-based buyers - Julie ­Buckley and Claire Illingworth - will continue to source other European and New World wines.

Gadsby has just completed a tour of all Oddbins' shops to talk to managers. "I'm not saying that every shop was immaculate, but 90 per cent of what I saw I was very pleased with," he said.

Gadsby will give regional presentations to managers over the next few weeks. He will also attend Oddbins' 32nd consumer wine fair, which is taking place on Nov 3 and 4 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.

Castel is also rolling out 20 new Bordeaux and 15 new Burgundy wines to Oddbins stores in the run-up to Christmas.

Three branches of Nicolas opened in October. Two are in Edinburgh - in Stockbridge and Goldenacre - and one in Old Brompton Road in south west London. A new branch of Oddbins is due to open soon in Kilmarnock, Glasgow.

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