MAJESTIC Wine today toasted its new six-bottle minimum purchase policy after a 13% jump in customers boosted annual profits.
The wine retailer said the decision to halve the previous 12-bottle minimum last autumn had led to a "substantial" increase in customers - up 54,000 to 472,000 in the year to March 29.
Majestic, which saw underlying pre-tax profits up 26% to £16 million over the year, said drinkers were snapping up its New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Argentinian Malbec and sparkling Prosecco.
Chief executive Steve Lewis said it would be a "tough ask" to continue customer growth at the current rate but said: "The trend since Christmas has been consistent."
Despite the move to a six-bottle minimum, the average spend per customer has only edged 4% lower to £129, the firm added.
Wines from South Africa were also popular throughout the year - although Mr Lewis put this down to the weakness of the rand rather than the current World Cup.
Majestic’s like-for-like sales were up 7.3% in the 10 weeks since March 30 and the group is confident of further growth despite "uncertain" economic prospects in the UK.
The retailer added that sales of wine priced at £20 or more had jumped nearly 23% in the past year and aims to roll out fine wine display areas across all its stores over the next two years.
Commercial business has shown steady improvement since the end of last year after sales of champagne were hit by recession. Meanwhile online sales now account for 10% of UK retail revenues after a near-20% rise last year.
Majestic now has 153 stores after opening six outlets in Shrewsbury, Southend, Edinburgh, Market Harborough, Abingdon and Sale.
The firm intends to open a further 12 stores during the current year with eventual plans to grow the group to 250 stores.