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Losses mount at Berry Bros & Rudd

Published:  21 December, 2015

Berry Bros & Rudd, wine merchants to the royal family, reported pre-tax losses of £11.4 million last year.

That is more than double the company's losses of £5.7 million for 2013-14.

It is the third year in the row BB&R has posted significant negative growth. The St James-based business posted a deficit of £7.3 million in 2012-13.

Sales for the year to end March 2015 were also down 5% to £142 million.

The company attributed the losses this year to a major investment in new IT and e-commerce systems as well as ongoing difficulties in the Asian market.

As one of the UK's leading en primeur retailers, it was particularly exposed to the disappointing sales of the 2013 vintage.

Simon Berry, chairman of BB&R, said: "It is clear that the financial performance of the group over the year has fallen well short of expectations.

"The delivery of our business performance was also slower than we anticipated most evidently in Asia."

The company, which was established in 1698, appointed Dan Jago, former group wine director at Tesco, as its new chief executive in October.

Jeremy Parsons, who formerly ran the company's spirits arm, has also been promoted to chief operating officer.

BB&R Spirits, which produces The Glenrothes and No 3 Gin, is a bright spot for the company, outperforming expectations this year.    

BB&R recently also added a fourth room for private events at its St James Street headquarters with the opening of the Sussex Cellar.

It currently hosts over 800 events a year.