Three-year project to boost wine sales in high street chain

Wine Cellar admits it has fallen behind its specialist rivals in wine sector

Wine Cellar is hoping to grow its wine sales by 50 per cent over the next three years.

General trading manager Steve Parker said the retailer is embarking on a project to boost sales - and admitted the chain had fallen behind its specialist rivals on wine.

While the project is in its early stages, Parker said staff training, improved internal communications and revamped shop layouts could form part of the plan.

Poor summer weather may have hit the off-trade hard, but Parker said sales at Wine Cellar had been "better than they could have been", with wine sales up 15 per cent and cider up 27 per cent year on year.

The retailer's joint venture with Martin McColl has seen Booze Buster sections added to 240 Martin's and McColl's shops - 20 more than initially planned for.

"More have opened with new store openings. It seems to be performing very well," Parker said.

Wine Cellar's total estate has stayed stable at 184 stores, but the Simply Food & Drinks format has grown to 26 with the conversion of a number of Booze Busters.

Sales at Simply Food & Drinks shops have been particularly strong, outperforming Wine Cellar's other formats, Parker said.

The directors of Wine Cellar are still seeking a permanent managing director following the departure of Paul Gaskell in April. Former Greenalls boss Carole Ormerod is acting chief executive.