Why Majestic Wines is shutting stores and rebranding as Naked Wines

Majestic Wines will close a number of its 200 stores across the UK. Credit: PA

Majestic Wine has announced plans to close a number of its stores and will be rebranded as Naked Wines as the company focuses on the online side of the business.

The wine retailer did not clarify how many stores would be shut but the company said job losses would be at a minimum.

What is the background of Majestic Wines?

Majestic was founded in 1980 as Majestic Vinters and its first store opened in North London. In 1991 Wizard Wines merged with Majestic to create the Majestic Wine banner.

Majestic will be rebranded as Naked Wines after the wine chain bought the online brand in 2015 for £70m.

Naked Wines is a subscription business that was founded by Rowan Gormley in 2008 and relies on customers signing up to regular payments in exchange for wines at "wholesale prices."

The Majestic closures will be announced in June. Credit: PA

Majestic, the UK's largest wine retailer, said almost 45% of its business came from online and 20% is generated from international sales.

The Majestic name will cease to exist on the high street as it is replaced by the Naked Wines brand.

Where are the store closures?

Majestic has 200 stores on the UK high street but the retailer has not specified which stores will be shut down.

Mr Gormley, Majestic's chief executive, said he has "no choice" but to shut down outlets.

The wine chain said the closures will be announced in June, along with its full-year results.

In a statement Mr Gormley said: "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."

Online wine retailer Naked Wines was founded by Rowan Gormley in 2008. Credit: PA

What happens now?

Majestic said there are no immediate plans to close any of their branches and customers will still be able to order wines online and through a branch.

The company said it still expects to meet its sales target of £500m this year and profits were on track.