Mainstream grocery retailers are hammering specialist off-licences, with Thresher Group the latest to be hit by tumbling sales.
The company has partly attributed the drop to competition from supermarkets and c-stores. But it has also been hit by the divestment of its worst-performing stores in the last four years, with outlets down from 2,500 to fewer than 2,000.
Thresher Group reported sales down 13% to £802m in the year to February 28, although pre-tax profit before exceptionals climbed from £17.1m to £21.2m. Last week it was reported that Oddbins had suffered annual pre-tax losses of £600,000, with sales down 13%. A second off-licence chain, Nicolas, also owned by Oddbins’ parent Castell, was hit by an annual pre-tax loss of £327,000, despite rising sales.
And Unwins’ board has been seeking to sell the business because it was running low on funds for further development.
The company posted sales of £179m in the year to February 28, down from £197m.
It suffered a £992,000 pre-tax loss in the same period.