First Quench's turnaround strategy has delivered powerful results, but more is needed, according to chief executive David Williams. "It's been a year of extraordinary progress. We've been completely focused on turning the business round and we've delivered," Williams said. "But we've got a long way to go." A £29m operating loss in the previous financial year has been turned into a £33m profit in the year to March. Overheads have been cut 30% and £10m invested in new systems and infrastructure. Williams said First Quench had completed the first phase of the turnaround, cutting discounts, volumes and costs and recruiting strong management. Now it had to create value and sustainable growth. He said the Victoria Wine brand would be ditched and the stores converted to the Thresher stable. One hundred Victoria Wine stores were converted last year. "This conversion will also mean radically reorganising ranges and introducing more chilled products," Williams said. "We have significant opportunities to open new shops in the UK ­ in Sunderland, for example, where our coverage is limited. But we're mainly looking at rebranding existing stores." Williams said the group's sales strategy would be overhauled: "We have 6,000 lines, but over 80% of our sales come from fewer than 1,000. The off-licence market has traditionally existed on a long tail of lines, but the market as a whole is moving towards big brands. The way forward is to get the balance between power brands and specialist interest areas." First Quench is planning to relaunch own label brands Imperial Vodka, Glenrossy Whisky and Victory Gin. It also aims to raise the profile of bestselling wine brands Rosemount and Lindemans as well as lagers such as Stella and Carling and spirits such as Gordon's Gin and Bell's whisky. And the chain is conducting extensive consumer research with McKinsey to identify customers the competition does not cater for. {{NEWS }}