Majestic closures and migration to Naked

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

  1. I have a sneaky suspicion that Majestic customers might not be so happy to migrate to online only, because when I shopped at Majestic the browse was part of the fun. But doubtless the destruction of a once great institution will make a lot of money for some individuals, irrespective of platitudes about investing in Naked. Ironic that Majestic bought Naked and not the other way around.

    Now we just need to let Majestic customers know that they can get just the same friendly and knowledgeable service at a few hundred excellent local independents.

    All about property indeed, Alex, but what to do with an old, usually fairly run down, ex-petrol station or car showroom on an arterial road about a mile or two from the city centre?
  2. Are you sure you're not in the wrong thread/sub-forum? ;-)
  3. No Alex. You know I don't do politics, just righteous indignation. I think it's pretty much an established fact that Majestic bought Naked with their own (well, okay, borrowed, I imagine) money. Then they appointed Naked's boss as their boss. Doesn't usually happen that way round, does it. Then ugly naked guy (apols for Friends ref) goes and shafts Majestic. And what will happen to the money they get for the sale of Majestic. He says it will go to invest in Naked, but everyone here who has worked for a corporate has probably made a wee sum out of share options and bonuses, and anyway, £100 million is a big pot to splash. Majestic's shareholders are not really, on the whole, wine people, more, to quote HMHB (calling Mark C) "Get Your F****** Hedge Cut" fellows, so I'm guessing its probably good for them. And probably good for Gormless as well, at a guess. I don't really give a toss which political party he votes for, nor his views on B****t. But I do think one can legitimately be pretty cynical about the whole shambles. Don't you agree?

    I am not only sorry for the staff when stores close, because I know many do a job they love. They can't all go and work in wine shops, and a life at Vodafone or Lidl will not fill them with joy. I know quite a few are also ex-Oddbins, who ended up there after that debacle. Twice in one lifetime is mean, especially for low paid jobs. I'm also hoping that somehow Lay & Wheeler survive, perhaps as a separate entity, or they might be bought by another reputable merchant (there have been some decent mergers over recent years). I've not bought anything from L&W for many years, but I know they have a lot of good, expert, people there.
    Andrew Stevenson and Thom Blach like this.
  4. Absolutely agree with you. Just that turn of phrase reminded me so much of what's going on in politics.
  5. Ah, yes. Hadn't thought of that. It's interesting that most people here cite Oddbins as their first love. It's true that Oddbins was where I bought my first Cru Classé Bordeaux, and later my first First Growths (Latour and Mouton '83, having been just not aware enough to buy the 02 vintage), and also, with an Oddbins Fine Wine within a short lunchtime stroll from work, it was the source of many discoveries. But I was well and truly a Majestic "by the case" shopper for a good decade and a less frequent one until two or three years ago, even if it was mainly for Christmas gifts by the end. I think I've listed some of the gems which came my way via Majestics, wines that anyone under forty might not credit they ever sold. In the days when Credit Cards were new I think I had an "Access" Card (remember those) and a Majestic Storecard - does anyone recall having one, or that they even existed as I'm sure they stopped by the mid- or late-80s?
  6. Didn't the Majestic "by the case" concept come up to enable them to open on Sundays? Something to do with getting classed as a wholesaler rather than an off-licence perhaps.
  7. I still think there is something very odd about majestic 'buying' naked wines. I'm pretty certain if one were to dig deep enough and follow enough complicated twists and turns that one might find a common link in the financial chain which meant that the reality was the other way around and allowed RG to become head honcho. walks like a duck etc...
    Thom Blach and Jonathan Mitchell like this.
  8. I assumed from the beginning it was really a reverse takeover.
  9. More to add to the sorry tale of Majestic. Sad for the hard working, and enthusiastic staff. One hopes they stand a better chance with Ellliot Advisers than ‘Gormless’.

    ‘Gormley said: "We are at a crossroads in the company's history. As laid out in March, we have taken the difficult but important decision to focus on Naked and exit from Majestic.’

    Why bother buying it in the first place?

    Majestic Wine plunges to annual loss amid talks to sell retail arm

    Majestic Wine shares rise as US hedge fund joins bidders for stores
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  10. The Majestic two minutes from me will have a 26 storey skyscraper built upon it if the developers get their way. Quite a canny purchase, one could say.
  11. Ealing? That features in this weeks Private Eye. They’ve been examining the relationship between the developer and local councillors.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  12. Ellliot Advisers. I know absolutely nothing of them. But just the name makes me think you're right to hope, Ed.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  13. hmm soooo.....

    Majestic wines (profitable & physical) buy Naked Wines (loss making and online). Rowan Gormley gets paid cash AND shares in Majestic. Kerching!
    Rowan becomes CEO of Majestic - kerching
    He sells off the (profitable) retail side of the business earning the company £100 million - a company that he is a shareholder in - Kerching
    and retains the loss making online business. Thus he and the shareholders of Naked 'appear' to have achieved :-

    2 large payouts
    1 new head office and infrastructure for their business
    1 business that is pretty much as is, loss making but with significant new investment that he has not had to hand over equity for
  14. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Tim, so you are full of admiration for his business acumen????

    David Crossley likes this.
  15. Just got this from Majestic.

    Majestic is here to stay!

    Despite what you may have read recently, today we can confirm Majestic is set to remain an independent company and your store will remain open!

    The feedback over the last few weeks we’ve received has been heartwarming and generous. I’ve received thousands of great stories about our people and how much you've enjoyed our wines. Our ambitions are to build on that, and be the #1 place to discover wine in the UK.

    So, what does this mean for you, and all our customers?

    We have four simple promises:

    1. We will make sure Majestic always has a range worthy of a specialist – exciting wines, that are priced fairly.
    2. Finding wines you love will be better than ever – more tastings, revamped stores and more recommendations tailored for you.
    3. You will have more ways to shop with us, that suit you – at your local store with our amazing people, online, or letting us do the work for you.
    4. The people you love will still be here to help you find your perfect wines.

    The outpouring of support is a huge vote of confidence in Majestic’s stores, our brilliant staff and our wines.

    And right now, we’re definitely in the mood to celebrate!

    We’d like to personally invite you to come celebrate with us with some fizz in hand.

    ALL stores, ALL weekend will be hosting a Champagne party and letting you take away your favourites with a saving of at least 25%* on ALL fizz. We’re cracking open 3,000 bottles across the country!

    Come in, say hi and enjoy a glass with us. We’d love to see you.

    Here’s to the future!

    Joshua Lincoln, Managing Director
  16. Ok that sounds positive, so what’s happened in the background and how will Lay And Wheeler fit.
    Interested to see what deal unfolded.
  17. I wouldn't trust Gormley an inch.
  18. Those 'simple promises' do not exclude closing some stores and firing some people.
  19. I saw that email today. I’d love to say who Gormless reminds me of, but it would be libellous and political. But basically Tim has put it very succinctly unless there is something missing.

    I wonder how much the most recent email is “Sh*t lads, we might not get away with it”.
    Ian Sutton likes this.
  20. The email has a faint whiff of panic about it. Bad publicity won’t help sell the retail arm they’re trying to dump. And there’s a real risk that negative PR will have a detrimental effect on the Naked Wines brand.

    Compare and contrast this whole ghastly tale with that of Julian Richer, giving a large share of his company to employees. Business can be ethical.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  21. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    I'm struggling to get my head around a section of their financial report released yesterday where Mr Gormley blamed the losses of Majestic retail on low margins and the 'discounting' they had been forced to do to compete (I paraphrase). Looking at their supposed '25% off' on sparkling wines 'for this weekend only', and you can still buy the wines cheaper than their post-discount prices elsewhere, often significantly cheaper. DP 2009 is down to £134.93, or buy in Waitrose at £130, Sainsbury's at £125 or Costco at £116. Over the past couple of years I have not seen a discount in Majestic that I would class as 'genuine'.
  22. It’s true, Tom. The Champagne discount is such a lie that it was the main reason why stopped shopping there. The savings you can make at the Waitrose 25% discount sales are massive compared to Majestic’s best price, especially on stuff like DP and Comtes.

    If your pricing sets out to con customers you don’t deserve to retain them. And mark my words, Majestic staff are not in the least bit ignorant. It upsets me.
    Thom Blach likes this.
  23. Experienced and knowledged staffs are hard to keep, if the wages are low and management is unfair. I have seen Fortnum & Mason wine department became such a boring and uninspiring place within two years.
  24. Po-Yu - incidentally the MD of Thorman Hunt was the Wine Director at Fortnum's until 2 years ago...

    My sources tell me that Majestic retail staff are not happy. Morale at an all time low - and the fact that they have been leveraged to make others rich when nobody is looking after them - and some are out of jobs makes things worse. If Majestic don't up their game and get their retail teams on board, happy, motivated and improve morale very quickly they'll be in a LOT of bother.
    Ian Sutton and Thom Blach like this.
  25. I didn't know the site and now looking at it... yes, I met three people there now from Fortnum previously!
    Apparently Emma Hunt was a wine staff, then moved to Moet et H., didn't realise she got her own family business.
    I saw Emma and Charlie at Fourny et Fils tasting just two days ago.

    Anyway, not only Tim French, F&M also lost passionated and competent Europeans such as Jehan and Hilario, due to various reasons but mainly by, to my understand, very low salary. Sorry to say that, but if you only give banana, you can't keep lions.

    It would shock many that this one of the most 'British' high end store in London, love to hire people live just outside of London so they can pay lower than minimum London wage, at the same time they apparently doing very well every Christmas. On the other hand, the 'Middle-Eastern owned' shops like Harrods or Selfridges, wine and food hall staffs stay much longer.
    Ian Sutton and Thom Blach like this.

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