Majestic Wine is planning to increase the scale of its 133-strong store network, according to chief executive Tim How.

Speaking after the wine warehouse chain reported a 4.4% increase in like-for-like sales for the nine weeks to 1 January, How said the company would open 10 more stores in 2007. It was also planning further investment in its fine wine areas, currently available in 20 stores, with plans to take this up to 30 by the end of the year.

Internet sales increased by 33% over Christmas, said How. The company wanted to keep up this momentum throughout 2007.

In-store sales had been boosted by Champagne and wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Spain and New Zealand.

Customers were spending more money in store, said How. The average price of a bottle had risen from £5.58 in 2005 to £5.73 last year, with Bordeaux wines selling at slightly over £10 a bottle, a big improvement on previous price tags.

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