Online represents 10% of total Majestic Wine sales

Yet more evidence of the growing role eCommerce is playing in the retail industry became clear today, with drinks specialist Majestic Wine reporting an 8.3% year-on-year rise in online sales for its first half.

According to a statement released by the business this morning, eCommerce sales accounted for 10.3% of the company's total sales in the six-month period to 30 September 2013.

During that period, Majestic has launched a range of new online tools and delivery options that have helped improve the retailer's digital offering. Essential Retail caught up with eCommerce director Richard Weaver earlier this year to hear all about the company's investment in e-tail and fulfilment.

In July, Majestic successfully unveiled the third generation of its website on a new platform, providing the infrastructure to handle expected future growth through the online channel. The site delivers an enhanced customer experience including an improved click & collect proposition and local stock availability.

Group profit before tax for the six-month period was £9.5 million, an increase of 4.2% on the first half of the previous financial year, while total revenue increased 3.3% to £130.2 million. Like-for-like sales declined 0.4%, with the retailer attributing the dip to the timing of Easter and tough comparisons with 2012's Jubilee celebrations.

Majestic chairman Phil Wrigley said: "Our on-going investment in new stores, consumer-facing technologies and development of our people has continued to attract considerable numbers of new customers.

"Majestic has a clear strategy to deliver growth from the expansion of the store estate, increasing revenue from business customers, growing ecommerce transactions and developing sales of fine wine."