Virgin Wines is expecting a bumper Christmas trading period after enjoying 12.5% sales growth during 2018 so far.

The online retailer’s financial year begins in July, and from then until October sales are up 15% year-on-year.

It said that new customer acquisition is 10% ahead of 2017, while email, corporate and gift sales have achieved a combined growth of 38%.

Chief executive Jay Wright said: “There is no arguing that as an industry we are faced with challenging conditions, but this is the point where it becomes more important than ever to roll up our sleeves, adapt as a business and make the most of the many opportunities that still exist.

“Our results over the last couple of years prove that even in this difficult UK market you can still have a successful business that combines both sales growth with increased profits.”

Christmas started early for Virgin, which released its third wine advent calendar at the beginning of September. More than 4,000 customers reserved a calendar within the first 10 days of its release, and a total of 12,000 have been snapped up so far.

Anyone that buys an advent calendar is granted access to a digital advent hub that offers information on the wine and a video. Winemakers, buyers and writers like Matthew Jukes are among the individuals presenting these videos.

Wright added: “The whole business is focused on what is important, which is ensuring our customers receive exceptional wines that represent outstanding value for money all backed up with world class customer service and continued innovation.

“I know every person in Virgin Wines is focused on those things which is why our customer retention levels are so high, saving us from driving unnecessary levels of cost into new customer acquisition.”