A "good but not great" Bordeaux vintage has impacted on Majestic Wine as it reported lower profits despite a sales surge at its wine warehouses.

The cost of moving to a larger distribution centre at Hemel Hempstead and investment in IT were also a factor as pre-tax profits fell 10.5 per cent to £8.5 million in the six months to September 29.

Its fine wine business Lay & Wheeler saw profits slump 78 per cent to £127,000 due to a disappointing Bordeaux 2013 campaign, which also impacted on the sale of other vintage wines.

Trends at its 210-strong wine warehouse business were better as half-year sales lifted 5.7 per cent to £124.9m on the back of demand for rose wine from Provence and Malbec from Argentina, which leapt 41 per cent.

Its like-for-like sales at UK stores improved 2.8 per cent, while it also opened shops at Leighton Buzzard, Hexham, Loughton and Addlestone during the period.

It has added two more, at Tiverton and Wrexham, since the close of its half-year trading and plans to open three more shops before Christmas.

Majestic said that its number of active customers lifted 1.9 per cent to 643,000, while the average spend per customer rose 2.4 per cent to £130.

It added that the price of the average bottle of wine lifted four per cent to £8.02, and sales of fine wine - priced at over £20 a bottle -jumped 22 per cent to £9m.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said: "The 2015 financial year is one of investing to put in place the building blocks to deliver future growth and shareholder value and we are progressing to plan."

Chairman Phil Wrigley said the firm had performed well in a "highly competitive" retail sector.

Analysts at Investec upgraded their rating on the firm to buy.

They said: "Encouragingly, UK retail stores like-for-like sales up 2.8 per cent, active customers up 1.9 per cent and online sales up 12.3 per cent should reassure that the core business is healthy and solid."