Wine merchant Oddbins has today officially relaunched on the British high street once again, six months after the company collapsed into administration.
Some 37 stores are now in operation under the management of Raj Chatha’s European Food Brokers (EFB) Group, which acquired the shops in April and saved 200 jobs in the process.
Oddbins orginally closed due to a combination of factors, primarily the increased competition from UK supermarkets, and even though the threat of the giant grocery companies has not disappeared, the wine seller is confident a new approach to business will prove successful.
A strategy that allows consumers to set the price on some of the products having sampled the wine in store could be just the welcome personalised service the high street needs at a time when the industry is investigating ways to reinvigorate town centres.
Oddbins has also spent the last six months sourcing new product ranges and mapping out a fresh direction for the retailer, while continuing to operate as best it could. From today, however, it is full steam ahead for the new approach to selling wine.
New Managing Director Ayo Akintola, who was present at the official reopening in London Kennington this morning, said: “In its heyday Oddbins was an innovative force on the high street and transformed the way British consumers purchased wine.
“We are confident that we can make Oddbins a relevant and much admired brand once again.
“Apart from the lower cost base, having EFB as a parent company gives us access to knowledge and expertise which enables us to source interesting wines at competitive prices for our customers.”
Reflecting on the new strategy, he added: “The new Oddbins is committed to having a dialogue with our customers, with the continued aim of providing the best possible service.
“That means great value and great tasting wines with in-store assistance provided by informed and friendly staff.
“The disappearance of well known wine merchants from the high street was not to do with the failure of the model per se, but rather a failure on the part of those companies to respond to a changing marketplace.”
Of the 37 stores, 19 are in London, ten are in Scotland with the remainder split across the rest of England.
Oddbins was operating with 89 stores when it went into administration in April, having failed to obtain a company voluntary arrangement from HM Revenue & Customs.