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RIP Majestic

When I joined the share cost £20 with new members getting £10 credit

It doubled at the time that a number of mutuals were privatising and paying dividends to members causing a ‘goldrush’ of speculators joining mutuals with the intention of getting a windfall when it de-mutualised.

Some mutuals changed their rules to say new members had to belong for x amount of time before becoming full members, as I recall TWS swiftly doubled membership to discourage speculators


Interesting, thanks for letting us know. Doubling to £40 to discourage speculation. What must the dividends have been?!?

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The rules still specify that shares have a nominal value of £20.

Until recently the annual report’s last page had the current value of shares (by block of numbers). Their value increases over time. I understand the share can be bequeathed in ones will.

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First ever mailing from L&W today regarding the matter, one of reassurance…

I’m delighted to share that today, Lay & Wheeler is now an independent fine wine merchant once more.

Lay & Wheeler is now owned by Coterie Limited, and will no longer be connected with Majestic Wine nor Naked Wine plc. You will, however, continue to be able to click and collect wines from Majestic stores.

Lay & Wheeler was founded in 1854, and our new owners recognise the rich heritage which comes with our business. They are looking forward to supporting our next chapter as we work harder than ever to help you enjoy the finest of wines. After over 160 years, we’re just getting started.

This is an exciting day in the long and celebrated story of this award-winning business, and one which helps us to build and focus on what we have historically done best.

I do hope to see you at one of our tastings very soon to toast our future, doing exactly what we’ve always done, together.


Some more info on the matter.


Was glad to receive the email - thanks for the news link


Yes, I was pleased to hear that too, having quite a few bottles in storage with them. Not as regular a customer now, but still buy some.

Glad that they have retained the facility to collect wines via Majestic stores too.


It’s very good news

The very slow warehouse aside, they are the only really modern and flexible fine wine platform in the UK at the moment

I suspect half of the warehouse issues are that a lot of people use them as their primary storage or as alongside TWS - I am now about 50/50 between the two


Think this has already been mentioned, but may be a bit more info

Interesting. It was generally accepted in the trade (and among Majestic employees I know) that 190 stores was maybe too many. They had, for example, opened stores maybe just 15 miles away from others, and all they had succeeded in doing was cannibalise the business of the first store - those who used to drive the 8-15 miles to find wine stopped doing so, coming to the more local store instead. The two stores combined would sell, say, 130% of the original store’s turnover, with all the extra costs that more staff and more brick and mortar bring.
I foresee some closures in the next 18 months, but let’s wait and see.


And yet… back when the thread started, wakefield Maj closed for a make-over and became Naked - all new signs etc - and now it is once again Majestic. Do I care? no. I pity the staff who have been F’ked about, but that’s about it.

Naked ( and lately Maj) sold wine (in my opinion) in the majority made specifically to their marketing brief. So it was much the same no matter the origin. Typically very fruity, tamed tannin, oak to the fore (or totally absent), nothing challenging. Might have been from the Rhone or Argentina, but great with piza.

So what’s the point? customers who ‘knew a little but bought on price’ would get better from a supermarket. Those who ‘knew a little more and bought for quality / character’ will buy from TWS or indies. Which questions what Maj. have to offer as a USP.


Bought some wine today in majestic for first time in years. Not too boring, I don’t think?

Chateau Musar Blanc
Cien y Pico (10 year old Garnacha Tintorera/Alicante Bouschet anyone?)
Lyrarakis Assyrtiko
Krasno Sauvignon/Ribolla Gialla (Goriska Brda)
Domaine des Tourelles Cuvee Pierre something
Bread and Butter Napa Pinot


Those Cien y Pico wines are awesome, try their bobal if you can too.

And Musar blanc always gets a thumbs up from me!

Yes, looks like a very interesting basket, was this the Spanish red?


I think if you have the patience there are some interesting wines, but you do have to do a bit of work to isolate from the chaff, of which there is plenty.

I thought that there had been quite a noticeable change when I went into my local Majestic two weeks ago, compared to about a year ago. For the better. More interesting wines appearing again. And in Scotland you don’t need to buy six to get the better price…


I agree. There seem to be some real gems now - if one cares to look. A recent trip yielded a fab Limoux chard, a couple wines from Alheit, an Argentinian Cab Franc and an Etna Rosso amongst others. My ‘wishlist’ of their wines went from virtually zero to about 35 wines in the last couple of months.

They can’t compete with TWS for breadth and value - but they’re already looking so much more interesting than at any point under Naked. That’s just my personal impression, of course.


Staff morale seems a lot better too…a real enthusiasm has returned, and keen to point out what’s new, though very professional about not dissing Naked.

One of them did get a bit overenthusiastic about trying to sell me a SA Pinotage (I’ve only ever liked one, which was privately imported by a SA former neighbour). He kept on encouraging me to taste it saying it ‘wasn’t like many of them, all burnt rubber’. I eventually relented, tasted it and told him it was like oaked rubber instead…at that point his boss came over and kind of led him away :joy:


Yes, I noticed that too! :+1:

And that’s nice to see, considering how much they were messed about. The Lewes branch I go to is in the process of getting a really nice makeover too.

Musar Blanc? Things must be looking up. Plenty of other interest there too. Maybe a visit to the local one may be in order.


However, I think ambitious growth plans are a bit of a stretch