Majestic closures and migration to Naked

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Alan Smeaton, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. In today's report in Drinks Business Gormley seems to be saying that the Majestic business is for sale [with its property potential also a significant consideration] rather than being rebranded as Naked. The sale potential is apparently being investigated and they are aiming to reveal their intentions about both Majestic and Lay & Wheler in June.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
    Adrian Wood likes this.
  2. Just been on to my Majestic account online and unticked myself from all communications, which probably won't work but might save me knackering up the postal systems by reposting daily Naked fliers back to them. If anyone else does this, the last one stays ticked, not unticked(!).
    David Crossley likes this.
  3. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Eeeek! I think not :)
    Adrian Wood likes this.
  4. That used to be called asset stripping when I was a boy.
  5. Still is but if Lay and Wheeler can come out as an independent retailer and maybe even take a few shops to maintain a retail presence may be interesting . Most likely they will stay online only but let’s see what happens.
    I will happily remain a L&W customer if they provide a similar service and options.
    Adrian Wood likes this.
  6. I think L&W are great - the "delivery to Majestic" bit (I have one a mile away) is a massive bonus - it would be a real shame to lose that. I actually mentioned this whole thing to a Majestic employee the other day, and they were seemingly quite calm about it - they figured that all the retail stores were simply being re-branded to be more "experience" led - I fear they might not think the same thing now.. :(
    Adrian Wood likes this.
  7. Well that’s a little bit different from what he said before. What an absolute ****er


    Chief executive, Rowan Gormley, told them: "It is clear that Naked Wines has the potential for strong sustainable growth, and we will deliver the best results for our shareholders, customers, people and suppliers by focusing all our energies on delivering that potential.

    "We also believe that a transformed Majestic business does have the potential to be a long-term winner, but that we risk not maximising the potential of Naked if we try to do both.

    "Where we have no choice but to close stores we will aim to minimise job losses by migration into Naked.

    "Therefore we have taken a decision to focus all of our capital and energies into delivering the long-term potential of Naked, and releasing value from Majestic.

    "Our plans for doing this are well advanced, and we look forward to sharing the final details in June."


    “Although we believe strongly Majestic can also be a winner, we don’t have money and resources to do both. One way or another we need to have a single business model and one brand, and therefore we either need to migrate [the businesses] together or take them further apart,” he said.

    Currently the group is “testing the market” to determine the eventual scale and timescale of the sale of the Majestic businesses but Gormley remained tight-lipped about the fate of Majestic commercial and its fine wine arm, Lay & Wheeler, saying that the path for those businesses would be unveiled in June.

    A very, very different message. I’m tempted to offer him a quid for it, but unless I miss my guess that might very well be buying only the problems. How very malodorous.
    Adrian Wood likes this.
  8. One thing should be stressed, that Majestic, along with Oddbins, was a heritage company for UK wine lovers. So many of us got into wine through their range and their excellent staff, at least to some degree.

    Gormless was taken on to head up Majestic from a VERY different kind of beverage company, in my view (NB) much more marketing led than list led. If he is responsible for coming into Majestic and killing it by the back door I can wish him nothing but ill. I assume his staff are holding dolls and pins as I type.
  9. David his ‘appointment’ and if you recall majestic’s ‘purchase’ of naked wines would suggest to me that a long term plan of exactly what has been suggested above was always the intent. I don’t profess to understand the hows or whys but I do know that he seems to be a fairly single minded individual.
  10. I am also a bit concerned about L&W and await the June announcement with some trepidation. They are my main go to as they have a good and extensive list in the areas I like, no minimum order, single bottle purchases, free delivery to Majestic and good rates for Cellar Club bods at Vinotheque. Hopefully new CEO Katy Keating's valliant attempts to inject more dynamism will enable it to survive in a similar form. Fingers crossed.
  11. The first store - the one my mate runs in Wakefield - has been rebranded, as of this weekend. The beginning of the end. IMG-20190421-WA0004.jpg


  12. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    At least it does show they are retaining some physical stores. For now.

    Looks like they are going to keep pushing the 'Angel' thing. I confess I share a lot of the scepticism concerning the 'Angels', but the public seems to buy it. I guess we have to admit that it is engaging drinkers with winemakers in a way that rarely happens at this level - showing them there is more to wine than brands and price points - no matter how sceptical we may be about the veracity of the wines and facts behind the 'Angels' pitch.
    Jonathan Hesford likes this.
  13. Apparently this is a "painted door test", at just the 1 store nationally "to see if we can successfully transition the brand and monitor customer activity".

    No idea as yet regarding if/how/when the range will change.
    Tom Cannavan and Alex Jagger like this.
  14. Yes I’ve asked at Lay to see where we stand. I’m planning on using LW more so want to try and gauge the future.
  15. ... and rather amusingly they forgot to paint the door itself - which still references Majestic ;)
  16. Well spotted Ian!
  17. If the footfall model was the reason why they abandoned Majestic, why have they adopted it for Naked? I’m scratching my head as to how the selling price of their range will support physical stores.
    Po-yu Sung and Jonathan Hesford like this.
  18. I suspect they will gradually change the range and then reduce the number of stores, once they have the evidence to justify it.
  19. It's a sorry piece of news. I know there has been a resurgence of good independent wine merchants in the UK but I wonder where the next generation of Wine Pages members are going to cut their teeth.

    Are the people taken in by the Naked stories going to become confident, adventurous and knowledgeable wine consumers? It seems to me that the business plan of Naked is to convince customers that only Naked supports the independent winemaker and that both the supermarkets and the Indy sector are fobbing the public off with either industrialized plonk or over-priced tosh.

    I'm not convinced that the customer who shopped at Majestic and appreciated the training and helpfulness of the staff are going to transition to the "believe me" sales technique of Naked. I suspect that Majestic was losing custom as a result of the merger.

    Hopefully, young wannabe wine connoisseurs will be attracted to the independent sector and the new wave of shop/bar/café that offer interesting wines and won't be sucked in by the marketing claims of the two big online giants of the UK wine trade. The problem is that if you live in a cosmopolitan city, there are plenty of indies. If you live in a village, town or small city, Majestic was probably your only physical source of decent wine and drinking advice.
    Thom Blach and David Crossley like this.
  20. I agree Jonathan. It would be easy to come to the conclusion that the change from Majestic (a long time legend even if it has lost its shine) to Naked (which seems to me a marketing idea before a wine merchant) could very possibly be in good part down to the ego of one man, who believes his "concept" is the best, bar none? Why oh why did Majestic have to buy Naked Wines?

    Where does that leave all the producers Majestic has been relatively loyal to for decades, some of whom I was under the impression had some financial interest in the company dating back to the problems it had in the 1990s...correct me if I'm wrong? Thinking Louis Latour etc.

    I agree that one hopes young wine consumers will be attracted by their nearest independents who, let's face it, work incredibly hard to put on events to draw people in, not merely to buy a bottle but to learn about wine in a fun way. The problem is, we are perhaps more likely to see a contraction of the independent sector in the coming years if our economy contracts and, more importantly, if sterling continues to remain weak or falls further.

    We are lucky, most of us, to have grown up during a period of amazing expansion in wine retailing, and wine appreciation, in the UK. But whilst it's not quite as important in the grand scheme of things as pollution, forests and water resources, it is by no means certain that it will last. But in the same way that many of us are beginning to think about how much energy and water we use, some of us are thinking a little more about where and from whom we purchase our wine, and how much we are prepared to pay. I'm sure pretty much no one on here wants their children to be left with just the supermarket offerings and Naked Wines when you consider the wealth and variety we have available to we ourselves, today.
  21. It would be interesting to know your friend's reaction, Richard, though I fully recognise the discretion imperative.
  22. It's all about property these days. I know some restaurants have made more from selling their leases than from selling food!
    Andrew Stevenson likes this.
  23. There's already a planning application in for a very large development on the site of the Majestic two minutes away.

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