Majestic Wine has confirmed it will be keeping all of its 190 stores open following the company’s acquisition by US firm Fortress Investment Group.

Under the company’s previous ownership there were plans in place to close as many as 140 stores, cutting the estate by almost two thirds. The business employs more than 1,000 specialist staff and had annual sales of more than £300million last year, including its commercial on-trade and French divisions.

Majestic also unveiled its first new store for more than two years, at a site in Blackheath, South London, as a signal of intent that the new owner Fortress has ambitious plans to grow the brand.

Newly-appointed boss John Colley said the first step is making sure the stores are filled with the right wine for Christmas, including an extra two million bottles stockpiled for Brexit.

He said: “The key to Majestic’s future is simple. It is the service our people provide, backed up by a range you simply cannot get anywhere else. That connection isn’t what it should be – so we need to get the wines back in that our customers (and staff) love first. That isn’t rocket science. Customers enjoy the connection to Majestic – to our wines, to our people and to our stores. We want to look at ways we can grow that connection further and not peel it back. That means bricks, clicks and flicks.

“Fortress and I see a huge opportunity in the UK over the next few years, and see Majestic as perfectly placed to take advantage. This is a fantastic country to sell wine in – the number one trading nation for vino in the world. And it needs Majestic at its heart.”

Colley added that he believes English sparkling wine will be big this Christmas. “There will be record numbers of English corks being popped this December. And as a bit of a dark horse, look out for Austria, particularly their whites. Our sales are up over 70% year-on-year already.”