Borough Wines & Beers reports strong sales growth

Borough Wines & Beers has reported 19% year-on-year sales growth on the back of a strong ecommerce performance and two new store openings.

Online revenue in 2017 grew 140% on the previous year after the launch of a new and improved click and collect service.

Store staff have been encouraged to use the website as a sales tool, with tablets installed at tills so that customers could browse – and buy – products which are not physically on the shelves, but available centrally.

The retailer said it proved particularly useful for spirits, a category with growing consumer demand for niche and premium products, limited releases and rarities.

Borough increased its spirits offering to more than 200 lines after seeking ranging advice from cocktail experts at Surendran & Bownes.

Sales grew 8% in its bricks and mortar stores, bolstered by new openings in Chiswick and Battersea Park. The 13-week trading period encapsulating Christmas 2017 was 17% up on the previous year in-store.

Founder Muriel Chatel said: “2017 was a difficult year for many reasons – a tricky financial climate had us fighting harder to drive footfall and retain market share, while uncertainty around Brexit and a weaker pound impacted our importing business.

“Most upsetting of all though were the tragic events that took place in London last summer and in particular the attack on Borough Market, which struck very close to home. The public response was swift and incredibly positive though and it has been heartening to see the efforts made to help those most affected. I was at the market earlier this week and it’s safe to say the Borough buzz has definitely returned.

“In light of the struggles we’ve faced – as a business and a city – to end 2017 with the company in growth feels like a huge triumph and we’re going into 2018 with a sense of optimism and confidence.

“Our plan for the year ahead is to build on the successes of the past 12 months, but not to become complacent; we’ll continually evaluate and evolve when necessary to meet the changing needs of our customers. This approach prompted last year’s digital investment – something that will continue in earnest in 2018 – the development of our spirits offering and the launch of a new no and low alcohol range, which is already proving a hit with customers.”

Over the next 12 months, Borough Wines will strengthen its standing as a spirits specialis, adding further lines and relaunching its own Spirit of Borough branded pre-batched cocktails. Through its Distillers Development Programme, the retailer will also continue to work with Surendran & Bownes, providing investment, equipment and support to help the young spirits business grow.

As part of the renewed programme of digital investment, Borough Wines plans to expand its online business and is exploring ways to extend its click and collect offerings outside of London.

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