Majestic Wines ex-boss shares business tips

Majestic Wines' former chief executive Tim How told garden leaders at the HTA conference that getting publicity for his business transformed recruitment and investment opportunities.

How, who retired this summer after building the wine warehouse business up over 20 years, said there were many parallels between his business and garden centres. Both rely on parking for picking up heavy goods and are situated in large, out of town, low-rent premises, he said.

How said Majestic did well recruiting graduates at starting salaries of £17,000.

He added that 25% of sales were to pubs and restaurants, built up through a team of 12 on-the-road sales staff.

Internet sales accounted for 7.9% of orders-but How said he expects that figure to rise to 20% within five years.

How said it was essential internet sales linked back to shops to prevent the two parts of the business competing against one other.

How said in the early 1990s recession he cut salaries and staff, which he described as tough and essential for the future growth of the business, which has seen growth every year since.

Majestic currently has 170 sites which have grown at a rate of 10 a year.

Many sites occupy former car showrooms-another idea for garden centres wishing to find new premises.

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