Oddbins gets help to build business

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Wine merchant Oddbins has called in advisers to move the company forward, it was reported

Wine merchant Oddbins has called in advisers to move the company forward as it faces tough decisions over its future, it was reported.

The off-licence has hired Spectrum Corporate Finance to put forward plans for the “cash constrained” 128-shop chain, the Daily Telegraph said.

Oddbins will decide on its strategy next Tuesday, after Spectrum has completed its work.

The move reflects a tough period for the UK’s independent wine trade, which has seen Threshers owner First Quench Retailing collapse in 2009 and the Unwins chain fold in 2005.

Chief executive Simon Baile told the newspaper: “Even John Lewis is suffering – look under the bonnet at the performance of the individual shops and you’ll see that.”

He added: “We just got Spectrum involved. We can’t see and know everything, however much we might want to. We’re having a good thrash about how we take the company forward to be a force for the future.”

Oddbins is under pressure amid competition from the dominant supermarket chains and falling consumer confidence.

It is also involved in a long-running legal spat with the group’s previous owner, French drinks group Castel Freres.

Mr Baile took control of Oddbins in 2008, since when losses have been stemmed, the average bottle price has increased and footfall has also risen. In December the group launched Oddies, a new smaller store concept.

The company was established in 1963. It was bought by Mr Baile’s father Nick in the seventies and changed hands several times before it returned to his son.

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