Naked Wines sales soar in lockdown

Analysts call retailer's half-year performance “outstanding” and say it has "huge opportunity" in the US market

Naked Wines unveiled surging half-year sales as demand for its mail-order wine subscriptions soared during the pandemic.

The London-listed firm posted an 80pc rise in sales to £157m for the 26 weeks to Sep 28 , prompting it to upgrade its expected sales growth for the year to between 55pc and 65pc. 

Nick Devlin, chief executive, said: “The last six months have been a critical period in the development of the company. 

“We have delivered exceptional growth and a permanent step-change in scale and efficiency for the organisation. We have a business today that is not only larger, but structurally improved and ideally positioned to deliver sustained growth in the coming years.”

Mr Devlin warned that the economic outlook remained uncertain but maintained that Naked had continued trading momentum and a strong balance sheet.

Naked racked up half-year losses of £8.9m compared with a £2.7m loss a year earlier. It blamed the loss on a £4m one-off charge related to the sale of a Majestic stores in Calais that went for less than expected.

Naked was acquired by Majestic Wines in 2015 for £75m. Former chief executive Rowan Gormley went on to sell off the retail arm to private equity firm Fortress last year for £95m, allowing Naked to focus on growing its burgeoning US business. 

The US accounts for half of Naked’s sales, with the UK representing 35pc and Australia 15pc. Naked is now the largest direct-to-consumer wine retailer in the US, the fastest growing part of its business where subscriptions shot up 37pc to 757,000 for the period.

Analysts at Jefferies called Naked’s half-year performance “outstanding”, adding that there continued to be a “huge opportunity” for the firm in the US.

Shares ticked up to 500p. The stock was at 259p at the start of the year.