New sites for Majestic branches

Majestic has opened two new stores this year and has another three scheduled to open by autumn.

The retailer now has 135 shops across the UK after opening outlets in Dulwich and Colchester, and is set to open stores in Sonning, Berkshire, in May, Aberdeen in early summer and a newly built shop in Sevenoaks, Kent, in autumn.

"Our target would be 175 by the end of 2010, and we certainly see the potential for 200," said chief executive Tim How, whose plan is to open 10 new shops a year.

Majestic is also moving some of its existing stores this financial year - including Chester in May, St Albans by June and Kingston, which is due to be ready late this year or early in 2008.

Over 30 shops, mainly in central London, now have fine wine departments. "We are continuing to grow about 25 per cent a year, and continuing to invest quite substantially in putting fine wine facilities into more of our stores, both stores we are refitting but also new stores where appropriate," said How.

"Bottle prices go up to several hundred pounds, but the typical price is £30. A range of £20-£50 is typical in stores outside central London."