Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland off-licence giant Wineflair expanding as turnover hits £38.5m

By John Mulgrew

A Northern Ireland off-licence chain has said it wants to expand its business through new acquisitions after posting turnover of £38.5m and rising profits.

Wineflair saw pre-tax profits surge to £1.41m, according to accounts for Wineflair (Belfast) Ltd for the year ending September 2016. That was up from just over £200,000 a year earlier.

Wineflair was established in 1970 and originally consisted of two off-licences - one in Carrickfergus and one in Belfast.

The company was taken over in August 2000 by its current owners, who have continued the expansion.

Since then it has taken on other businesses and expanded into the convenience food sector.

The company now operates 55 stores and employs a workforce of around 309. That number has fallen from 340 a year earlier, according to the accounts.

In its strategic report, the firm said that during the year it took on one new outlet and sold off another.

"The directors continue to seek opportunities to increase business both organically and through acquisition, with a number of such opportunities currently under review," it said.

"While the company still retains a significant grocery division, the directors envisage that future expansion shall be focused within the company's core business - off sales."

The company said it is "encouraged" by the turnover, year-on-year, and will "continue to take the appropriate steps to increase sales levels, reduce both direct and indirect costs and enhance revenues".

Wineflair operates stores across Northern Ireland, with more than a dozen in Belfast, and others in Lisburn, Bangor and Carrickfergus.

In 2015, the firm took over off-licence chain Curley's.

Wineflair bought the 11 stores for an undisclosed sum after determining they would "fit in well with our business".

Speaking about the takeover at the time, Alan McGuinness, Wineflair managing director, said: "We were delighted to have the opportunity to take on a well-established family business to grow and develop our holdings in Northern Ireland."

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