New Zealand`s Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc was the best-selling wine at Britain’s Majestic Wine chain over the Christmas season, the warehouse retailer says.

Majestic Wine uncorked its best festive sales for a decade yesterday, toasting sparkling sales of champagne and upmarket fine wine, as customers shrugged off the economic downturn.

Chief executive of Majestic, Steve Lewis, said he had been encouraged by the response to the change in its minimum purchase policy from 12 bottles of wine to six.

He said existing customers were shopping more frequently. For the nine weeks to January 4, the 153-store chain’s underlying sales were up by 11.7 per cent. This was its best sales for more than two years.

Lewis said: “Christmas got off to a good start and it just kept going.” Majestic said sales of champagne were up by 11 per cent, sales of fine wine were higher by 30 per cent and online grew by 17 per cent.

Across the business, the retailer’s most popular champagne was Veuve Clicquot and its best-selling wine was the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc.

Lewis said its busiest day was the Saturday before Christmas, and that it had received a boost from the snow and icy conditions before December 25, as many people stopped working and went into “Christmas mode”.

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