Borough Wines to strengthen spirits focus

17th January, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

Independent London merchant Borough Wines & Beers has reported a “strong” 2017 trading period, at the same time as announcing plans to strengthen its spirits focus in the next 12 months.

Borough Wines & Beers plans to “strengthen” its spirits focus over the next 12 months

The company’s retail arm contributed a 19% year-on-year growth in turnover, while the e-commerce business more than doubled in both volume and value compared to the previous year.

Online revenue in 2017 was 140% higher than the previous year, with November and December alone accounting for 46% of the total annual sum.

The company’s sites achieved an 8% year-on-year growth, while profits for the group were bolstered by new stores in Chiswick and Battersea Park.

The results follow the company’s investment in digital, which included a website redesign and the development of a ‘clicks and mortar’ offering – increasing integration between online and offline retail operations.

Spirits in particular benefited from the firm’s improved Click and Collect service.

Over the next 12 months, Borough Wines said it will “strengthen” its position as a spirits specialist, with the addition of further lines and the relaunch of its Spirit of Borough pre-batched cocktails.

Last year, the retailer increased its spirits range to over 200 lines, while a website redesign gave the expanded selection “more prominence”.

The range was devised with help from Surendran & Bownes, which also collaborated with the retailer on spirits-focused online content, including a cocktail recipe database to target audiences interested in spirits.

Through its Distillers Development Programme, the retailer will also continue to work with Surendran & Bownes, providing investment, equipment and support to help the business grow.

As part of the programme, Borough Wines launched a non-alcoholic London Dry-style spirit, earlier this month.

Company founder Muriel Chatel said: “2017 was a difficult year for many reasons – a tricky financial climate had us fighting harder to drive footfall and retain market share, while uncertainty around Brexit and a weaker pound impacted our importing business. Most upsetting of all though were the tragic events that took place in London last summer and in particular the attack on Borough Market, which struck very close to home.

“Our plan for the year ahead is to build on the successes of the past 12 months, but not to become complacent; we’ll continually evaluate and evolve when necessary to meet the changing needs of our customers. This approach prompted last year’s digital investment – something that will continue in earnest in 2018 – the development of our spirits offering and the launch of a new no- and low-alcohol range, which is already proving a hit with customers.”

Borough Wines also plans to expand its online business and is exploring ways to extend its Click & Collect and Order & Collection offerings outside of London in 2018.

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