Victoria Wine plans warehouses

Victoria Wine is following on the heels of rival off-licence chain Thresher with plans to open its own out-of-town drinks warehouses to hit back at competition from supermarket chains.

Thresher this week opens the first such out-of-town off-licence called Booze Barn at Staples Corner retail park in north London.

The store is about 15 times larger than a standard Thresher off-licence.

Victoria Wine, owned by Allied Domecq, has found two sites on retail parks for its new large-scale format, which will have a sub-branded name.

The company says the name has yet to be decided, although it has been suggested it may be called Victoria Wine Warehouse.

Victoria Wine marketing director Richard Lowe says one of the warehouses will be situated next to a major supermarket to test the competitive effects of the format.

He says: “It is no secret that grocery retailers have built share of the off-trade because of the convenience of shopping there. One reason for our large format retailing is to go where the customers are.”

He says that high street off-licences are used by customers for “top-up” shopping, with the main shopping done at the supermarket. If the new format is successful, it could become a major threat to supermarkets’ share of off-licence sales.

In a separate move, staff at Allied Domecq’s spirits and retail businesses are expecting an announcement on the demerging of the two divisions.

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