Business

Off-licence chain WineFlair grows turnover by 20% to £38.5 million

Off-licence chain WineFlair grown its turnover by 20 per cent over the past year to £38.5 million
Gareth McKeown

ONE of the north's leading off-licence chains has grown its turnover by 20 per cent over the past year to £38.5 million, with further expansion plans in the offing.

Established in 1970 WineFlair initially consisted of two off-licences in Carrickfergus and Belfast, but the company has grown significantly under its current ownership, with 56 stores now operating across the north.

The business has also diversified into the convenience food sector and works with Spar and Vivo in a number of combined stores, while in June 2015 the firm bought over Curley's Wine Cellars in a major acquisition.

For the year ending September 30, 2016 WineFlair reported turnover of £38.5 million a 20 per cent increase on the £32.1 million recorded in 2015.

Profit before tax increased from £203,164 in 2015 to £1.4 million last year, while gross profit moved above the eight million mark (£8.3 million) in comparison to £6.2 million in the previous financial year.

The company directors said they were "encouraged" by the latest results and pledged to "take the appropriate steps to increase sales levels, reduced both direct and indirect costs and enhance revenues".

"The directors continue to seek opportunities to increase business both organically and through acquisition; with a number of such opportunities currently under review. Whilst the company still retains a significant grocery division, the directors envisage that future expansion shall be focused within the company's core business, off sales."

The positive figures were achieved in what the company described as a "challenging" business environment, with competition cited as a major factor.

"The business environment in which we operate continues to be challenging with the impact of strong competition from the UK multiples who occupy the Northern Ireland marketplace continuing to put pressure on alcohol prices," they said.

The growth in turnover and profits was accompanied by a fall in staff numbers from 340 to 309, but the company's overall wage bill increased over the year from £2.9 million to £3.5 million.

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