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Christmas will be key for Majestic

Majestic Wine was never going to have a vintage first half after the grim summer weather. Indeed, like-for-like retail sales growth of 0.6 per cent, while not disastrous, is seen as disappointing by many analysts. Moreover, sales weakness was compounded by a decision to pull out of the wholesale business - revenues from these low-margin activities fell from £10.4m to just £3.2m in the period. This move should boost group profitability but, initially, broker Investec estimates the drag on profits will be about £1m a year.

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