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IndustryWine retailing
FounderAhmed Pochee
United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Ayo Akintola MD[1]
ProductsWine, beer, spirits
£8.6m (loss) (2006)[citation needed]
£121.3m (2006)[citation needed]
OwnerEuropean Food Brokers

Oddbins is an off-licence retail chain in the United Kingdom, established in 1963 by Ahmed Pochee.

The chain currently operates 46 branches with 30 in London, 9 in Scotland and across the rest of the UK, under the leadership of managing director Ayo Akintola. It also operates a trade arm, Oddbins Wholesale, which supplies restaurants, pubs, bars and other businesses throughout the UK.


In 1963, entrepreneur Ahmed Pochee established a small business delivering "bin-ends" and "oddments" of wine to restaurants and clubs in London's West End. Ten years later the company was purchased by Nick Baile and Dennis Ing, but it wasn't until the early 1980s that the company's distinct style was discovered. Illustrator Ralph Steadman was asked by Gordon Kerr, the marketing director at that time, to produce ten drawings similar in style to his illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Steadman continued working for Oddbins for the next 12 years.

Due to the levels of debt within the business in the late 1980s, Oddbins was acquired by Seagram, a distribution company that was United States based. It was during this period, that Oddbins was largely permitted to develop with autonomy, albeit with incentive to strongly promote the Seagram brands.

The company grew from 100 to 278 locations and came to be regarded as a favourite of a generation of wine drinkers.[2] It was during this period that Patsy Stone (the fictional character portrayed by Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous) lived in the storeroom of an Oddbins off licence in London.

French Groupe Castel, who also owned the Nicolas chain from 2002-2008, purchased the company. It was then bought by Simon Baile, son of Nick Baile.[3] Oddbins operated 158 stores in the United Kingdom, including 20 in the capital, 4 in Ireland and 1 in Calais, France.[4]

In 2010 the company launched a new off-licence and convenience store concept called "Oddies."[5][6]

A closed branch on Albion Street in Leeds, April 2011

In early 2011 Oddbins closed a third of its branches, reducing the number remaining open to under 100, leading to a proposal to enter a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).[7] In April 2011, Oddbins went into administration, following the breakdown of talks over the CVA after objections from HMRC, which is owed nearly half of the chains' total debt of £20 million.[8] On 26 April, Whittalls Wine Merchants, part of Raj Chatha's European Food Brokers (EFB) group, bought 37 of the shops from the administrators in a move that saved 200 jobs.[9] and acquired the exclusive rights to the name. The remaining 48 shops were closed by the administrators.

In mid-2011 Oddbins radically changed their pricing strategy to move away from deep case discounts to offer customers a better price on individual bottles. In addition, head of buying Ana Sapungiu MW overhauled their range. She had an innovative approach to buying, looking to explore the less familiar categories whilst challenging the classic regions for value and point of interest for the engaged Oddbins customer.[citation needed]

On 19 October 2011 the new owners officially relaunched Oddbins.[10] On 1 February 2019, Oddbins again went into administration.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ayo Akintola". www.thedrinksbusiness.com. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  2. ^ "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Timesonline.co.uk. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Business | Family tradition in Oddbins sale". BBC News. 6 August 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Oddbins sale uncorks new family chapter". Telegraph. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Oddbins launches new off-licence and convenience store concept - Harpers Wine & Spirit Trade News". www.harpers.co.uk. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Oddbins trials new 'convenience' stores - Decanter". 2 December 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Article » Oddbins on the brink as CVA details emerge". The Drinks Business. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  8. ^ "BBC News - Oddbins to go into administration". Bbc.co.uk. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  9. ^ "BBC News - Whittall's Wine buys half of Oddbins' stores". Bbc.co.uk. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  10. ^ Smale, Will (19 October 2011). "BBC News - Can Oddbins regain its fizz?". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Oddbins off-licence chain calls in administrators". BBC News. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.

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