London is home to one in four indies


London’s dominant position in the specialist wine trade has been underlined by the latest figures for independent merchants in the UK.

Almost a quarter of all specialist indie wine shops are based in the capital, according to data compiled by The Wine Merchant.

The number stands at 241, out of a UK-wide figure of 1,013 stores, representing 23.8% of the total.

Those stores are run by 150 businesses, representing a 19.5% share of the UK-wide total of 770.

The figures show that, while the past decade has seen some huge growth for independent wine merchants , in major conurbations as well as market towns across the country, the centre of gravity remains in the capital.

This is despite rising rents and some demographic changes that mean that some previously buoyant London businesses have struggled for footfall.

Casualties in 2023 included Connaught Cellars in central London and Last Drop Wines in Fulham, both of which found it hard to attract the level of local custom they had enjoyed before Covid.

But there has been a flurry of openings in London as existing operators have expanded their businesses and others have entered the market for the first time. A recent example is The Good Wine Shop, which opened its fourth branch at the end of last year when it took on the former Oddbins store in St Margarets, south west London.

Manchester, a city which has seen a boom in its wine scene over the past decade, now has 15 specialist independents, running 20 branches. This equates to one wine shop for every 140,000 Mancunians, compared to London’s figure of one wine shop for every 37,000 residents.

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