Iconic London wine merchant Roberson Wine is shutting its doors after deciding to forgo bricks and mortar retailing in favour of better performing channels.

The store only accounts for 13% of the firm’s turnover and it wants to focus its efforts on B2B and online sales.

Business development director Adam Green told OLN’s sister title Harpers: “The lease renewal was this year and that was really the catalyst for the decision.

“However, we obviously wouldn’t make a decision of this importance that lightly. In fact, what has really been kicking around in the background for us was much more of a strategic issue and where we see Roberson developing over the next five to ten years. After weighing it out very throughly we feel that now was the right time for us to exit the bricks and mortar retail environment.”

Roberson, which makes 40% of its turnover by selling to on-trade outlets, wants to ramp up its sales to independent wine merchants and said having its own retail store was holding it back.

Green said: “Independent off-trade is an area that historically we have not been able to sell much wine into. There are a variety of reasons for that, one of which is we really haven’t had the time, the energy and resources that you need to dedicate to it.

“While some people may see a lot of themselves in what we were doing as a store, it also discouraged people from working with our products that we represent because it was already on the high street so to speak.”
He added: “The shop is having its best ever year this year. This is one of the ironies of it. They’re going to be up around 10% on last year. The guys there have had an absolutely fantastic year.

“But we know that primarily Roberson is really a B2B business and those are the sectors that are really showing the most dynamic growth, particularly as we have taken on more agency specialists, with California obviously being a big success there.”

Read the complete interview in the upcoming July edition of Harpers.