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RIP Majestic


My problem with Majestic - is the wines all taste the same. No, I dont mean that a Rioja tastes like a Muscadet… but they all seem ‘similar’ with a fruit driven agenda and a lack of complexity. The more expensive wines very rarely deserve the extra expense.

That’s just my personal opinion… there definitely seems to be a Majestic ‘style’ which I dont like. It’s as if there is a Buyer’s handbook and all wines have to meet the criteria. As for ‘Naked’ well - same story, but with a convoluted pricing practice - easy to join, tricky to leave.

Why do they always insist on carrying your wine to the car, and MUST have your address before you can buy anything?


It was indeed a reverse takeover as Majestic has the stockmarket listing…though clearly Naked believe that they are a ‘superior’ brand, which in the short term they might be. from their business model they seem to want to take a margin on the production side too by funding growers.

The phrase Emperor and no clothes might spring to mind…


I personally like getting it carried to the car, but a ruptured interdisc pad in my back might account for that…

I think the address bit is only to check if you are a new customer…

The range has evolved towards what you describe, from what was an interesting range 20 years ago, and a scale of operation that meant they could buy smaller parcels of wine. However, I noticed on my last visit to local branch that they are also selling L&W wines in their top of range category. I expect that the evolution in the mainstream offering is what they think the customers want - i.e fruit driven and undemanding.


Yes that’s my read on it too. I often find the staff trying to steer people towards the more interesting choices via the tasting table, one suspects to little avail. A shame for them as many are genuinely enthusiastic about wine.


interesting piece on twitter this morning…

" An analyst note from Peel Hunt yesterday said management confirmed that Majestic is putting its retail, commercial and Lay & Wheeler divisions up for sale. Naked may keep a few flagship shops as destination stores, but apart from that the business will be completely Naked."

but several comments that not sure, in current climate, that would be able to sell the whole business and may end up selling individual leases and close stores.

Apparently Naked’s growth ambitions are not UK focused…but rather US and Oz


I’ve not had enough coffee yet but what have Naked actually gotten out of this then if they sell all the majestic bits off? Just an easy way onto the stock market?

An article in my local paper says the first a local Majestic store (not my closest one) heard about this was the press release hitting the news…


If they have a closing down sale… I suggest this South African Chenin Blanc is surprisingly decent for a tenner, and heading towards Savennières in style. Yes, it tastes like it’s made to order for MJ, yet well chilled down I enjoyed it with a midweek roast chicken.


How awful for the staff involved. I like many here used to purchase a reasonable amount of wine from Majestic but in recent years the choice available with the exception of a few just hasn’t been good enough.
On my last trip through Calais I popped in and quite frankly could not really believe how bad it was. I ended up nipping into Terre de Boissons instead.


Colour me cynical… but I wonder if it’s a way of getting around post-brexit supply chain problems and avoiding tariffs, perhaps not declaring profit in the UK?

All stock-holding being handed back to the supplier’s, with Naked simply acting as middle-men. Way outside my expertise, but could they offshore the whole operation ?


I don’t think it is given the desire to expand into other territories.

They could off-shore to mainland Europe (for UK purchases) but it wouldn’t get around tariffs (if there area any) as they are payable when items are imported and they would need a representative in the UK for customer and excise purposes. I actually think this method would lead to more issues with supply chain considering all things we are lead to understand on current operating of a customs set-up

Stock holding being handed back to suppliers can happen here in the UK - for instance a well known DIY chain owns very little of what is in their stores…its consignment stock…when the item passes over the till an ‘order’ is placed with the supplier so that the DIY store takes ownership and then it is sold to you.


I have felt for ages that Majestic were unlikely to survive in the modern world. Once other channels opened up by technology they were going to suffer from the competition of Laithwaites/Sunday Times Wine Club/Virgin Wines (I didn’t put the Society as it is a bit different in terms of shares etc.). Out of town warehouses are less attractive for a customer who can get case quantity wines much more easily via the internet. The slow evolution of the offering from 12 bottle to 6 bottle to individual bottle were simply symptomatic of a model that was flawed. I think in the UK at least I don’t think the Naked Wines approach has longevity.


I wonder what will happen to Lay & Wheeler. Aside from TWS, they’re probably my favourite merchant - broad selection, flexibility to buy as many bottles as you like, fair pricing, ability to store odd bottles, etc… I was planning on complementing my TWS Rhone EP order with putting a variety of L&W bottles into their storage :thinking:


I had similar thoughts, as some of my favourites from their tasting aren’t stocked at TWS. I think I’m waiting to see, there been many merchants go to the wall with customer’s stock.


Shares down another 5% today. Not really surprised, as this appears to be an attempt at wholesale transformation with a lot of execution risk and uncertainty.


Mmm, I just did that last week… I got a couple of wines from WS, but the option to buy 1 -3 bottles from LW, suits the way I drink (small amounts / lots of variety) better than 6. But sounds like my timing was not so great. :sweat:


I think if you have bought bottles and they’re properly labelled in the warehouse then it’ll be fine even in the (imo unlikely) event L&W becomes insolvent. The big concern for me would be sending them money but not yet having my wine clearly bought and segregated.


I do remember discussing the Majestic/Naked acquisition at the time, in another place. I found it difficult to find any evidence that Naked had ever turned a profit, and the suggestion was that Pieroth were offloading it for that reason.

None of this was certain and I don’t want to pretend it was. But assuming it was, and given the difficulty of selling alcohol in the USA across state lines, then what does this all imply about the way forward?

I do admire the way they have built a community using social media, but they are very inward-looking and uncritical (as compared to, say, here). Maybe that’s what you need to do bulk online business these days in that sector of the market. But if so, it must have absorbed a lot of hard cash to get there. And even if we assume they are where they want to be, what are the guarantees they can stay there? It won’t take long before aggressive competition appears if they do prove successful.


I had a look at L&W’s accounts. It is a standalone company, appears to have no external debt and (apart from staff) low costs, is roughly break-even, and had a reasonable amount of cash at hand. So I reckon it’s safe to order wine from them that is currently in stock. Not sure about EP though.


Management buy out a possibility for L&W?

I used to buy a lot of wine through them and still buy some, I like the flexible EP where you can buy single bottles, also the depth of their broking list.

I think it’s premature to start thinking the worst about what might happen too, though the management and staff will want to see some clarity as well as the customers I imagine…


I would stress the “execution uncertainty” side of it.