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Online wines supplier Virgin Wines has agreed a new strategic partnership with WH Smith to supply its travel stores.

Virgin Wines said the agreement represents “significant progress” as part of its strategic focus on commercial partnerships.

An exclusively curated range of quality wines is currently stocked across 39 WH Smith stores within airports and train stations nationwide, and is “already proving popular with customers”.

The group said it continues to explore a number of additional partnerships, following others recently agreed with leading British brands including Saga, Moonpig and Currys.

CEO Jay Wright commented: “We are delighted to have partnered with WH Smith Travel to provide our exclusive, quality wines to their customers within travel hubs across the UK. This is a great opportunity for thousands of WH Smith customers to sample the outstanding wines that Virgin Wines sources from across the world and we hope that it will entice them to try more wines in the future as well as enjoying a glass or two while on their travels.

“Strategic partnerships such as this remain fundamental to our growth strategy, and we look forward to updating further on our progress in this area over the coming months.”

Morning update

Young & Co’s Brewery has had a “good start” to its financial year, according to comments from its chairman Stephen Goodyear ahead of its AGM today.

In the first thirteen weeks of 2023, revenue was up 8.3% in total and up 6.8% on a like-for-like basis against 2022.

The key driver of this performance is continued investment in improving and growing its premium estate.

Goodyear said: “The Board is optimistic for the year ahead, looking forward to the Rugby World Cup this autumn and the warmup fixtures over the summer. We will continue to invest in the future growth of the business, sticking to our strategy of running premium, differentiated and well-invested pubs and rooms.

“The strength of our balance sheet leaves us well-placed to make further investments and continue to generate good returns for shareholders over the long term.”

He is stepping down as non-executive chairman and will retire from the board following the company’s 2024 AGM to be succeed by Steve Cooke.

Elsewhere, AIM-listed spirits group Distil has posted a update on trading for the first quarter of its current financial year.

Revenues increased 206% from £119k to £364k year-on-year.

This revenue increase occurred despite marketing investment decreasing 72% year-on-year, reflecting its RedLeg TV commercial last year.

Exec chairman Don Goulding commented: “Reported Q1 revenues show extraordinary growth as we are lapping a suppressed Q1 in 2022 as a result of remodelling the business. However, the growth is encouraging as it reflects that we are on our way to rebuild from a stronger base despite a challenging economic environment which has suppressed the consumer spirits market.”

“We’re pleased that this quarter has begun to see the recovery from one-off impacts of the business remodel in 2022. The market remains uncertain in the economic climate, particularly in the UK due to the planned duty increases effective from 1 August, however we are working closely with our customers to ensure that our products are well positioned and marketed to minimise the effects on the business.

“Overall, the team is excited by the opportunities that the remodel has provided, and we look forward to driving business growth and value for shareholders throughout the rest of the year.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is down another 1.1% to 7,363.89pts

Early risers include Kerry Group, up 2.2% to €88.88, Science in Sport, up 0.9% to 13.4p and C&C Group, up 0.9% to 133p.

Fallers include Ocado, down 5.2% to 543.8p, THG, down 2.4% to 84p and Pets at Home, down 2.2% to 365.2p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 fell back 1% yesterday to 7,442.1pts.

Risers included Virgin Wines, up 5.3% to 30p, Nichols, up 5.1% to 1,040p, THG, up 3% to 86p, McBride, up 2.9% to 26.5p, Finsbury Food Group, up 2.7% to 96p and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, up 2.1% to 60p.

The day’s fallers included Ocado, down 6.8% to 573.4p, Just Eat, down 3.3% to 1,238p, Deliveroo, down 2.5% to 115.3p, Greggs, down 2.3% to 2,530p and WH Smith, down 1.4% to 1,526p.