Unwins has launched Phillips Newman, a new format which it hopes will help reposition it as an upmarket wine merchant.

The chain is named after the company which bought Unwins in 1921. The first store opened this week on the Old Brompton Road in Kensington, London.

Provided it secures sufficient funding, the retailer aims to create 50 Phillips Newman
stores, including two further stores in London before the end of this summer.

Marketing director Ian McLernon explained why he believed developing an upmarket wine proposition was the way forward.

“Nearly half our business is in upmarket areas. The main value growth in the off-trade - 24% - is coming from wine and most of that is coming from customers trading up.” He said sampling would be used to attract customers to the stores: “They will have giant tasting tables, where customers will be able to try three red wines and three white wines every day.

“They will be laid out according to six taste zones, with white wines divided into bright, smooth and rounded categories and red wines into fruity, mellow and chunky varieties.”

Shops will have access to 225 core wines, with most priced between £5 and £15 and will also sell some other drinks, including champagnes, spirits and speciality beers.

Customers will be able to order wines not currently in stock. Where appropriate, all drinks on offer will be chilled.

Stores will offer some promotions, but mainly focus on reasonable pricing based on product type and quality.
Rod Addy