Shares in Majestic Wine were down on the FTSE AIM in morning trading after the wine seller reported a rise in pre-tax profit and sales in the full year ended 28 March.

Total sales in the period were up 10.3 per cent to £257.3 million, while pre-tax profit jumped 26.6 per cent to £20.3 million.

The group said it would be raising its total dividend for the year 26.2 per cent to 13.0 pence per share.

Majestic Wine's Lay & Wheeler business saw pre-tax profit jump from £23 thousand to £701 thousand, while Wine and Beer World more than doubled its pre-tax profits from £0.4 million to £1.0 million.

The group said that customer numbers in the year had risen 8.2 per cent to 511,000, with transaction numbers also growing 12.5 per cent to two million. This more than offset a fall in average transaction value of 2.5 per cent to £126.

Twelve new Majestic Wine stores were opened during the year, with another two being opened since the end of the period taking the group's total number of stores to 165. The group said that a reduction in its minimum purchase requirements combined with a detailed mapping exercise made it confident of expanding to 330 stores.

In the ten weeks since the end of the period like for like sales in Great Britain were up 4.4 per cent.

Steve Lewis, Chief Executive of Majestic Wine, commented, "We are delighted that so many new customers have chosen to shop with Majestic and are encouraged that all parts of the business are showing strong progress."

Keith Bowman, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented,

"Earnings have marginally exceeded forecasts, with further significant progress being reported. An earlier decision to reduce the minimum order from twelve to six bottles has continued to underwrite momentum, with the demise of competitors and the company's push online further aiding. The group's commercial sales have again expanded, while the attractions of wine as an investment are likely to be assisting its high end subsidiary Lay & Wheeler.

"On the downside, same store sales have slowed, while the valuation remains at a premium to the wider retail sector. Nonetheless, management remains confident with regards to the group's potential to successfully expand its store base, the nation's love of food and wine shows no sign of abating, while the group's specialist nature and knowledgeable customer service set it apart from rivals such as the supermarkets. In all, market consensus opinion continues to denote a buy."

By 08:40 shares in Majestic Wine were down 0.05 per cent on the FTSE AIM to 470.00 pence per share.