Norwich-based Naked Wines reports festive sales lift

17:59 07 January 2016

The team from Business Awards finalist Naked Wines

The team from Business Awards finalist Naked Wines


Crowdfunded retailer Naked Wines saw sales lift 28pc over the festive trading period, making it the fastest growing arm of parent company Majestic Wine.

The Norwich-based company, which employs 145 people, launched a new gin in the weeks before Christmas, cashing in on the growing trend for artisan spirits.

And managing director Eamon FitzGerald said in the 10 weeks of Christmas trading from October 27 to January 4, sales of Chardonnay were up 64pc year on year.

“We have been listening to our customers who have been talking about gin,” he said. “We sold 27,000 bottles in the first week.”

Naked Wines was founded in 2008 by Rowan Gormley, a former boss of Virgin Money, and drives investment from 152,000 “Angel” customers in the UK, and more worldwide, into independent winemakers in exchange for cheaper wines by the bottle.

In April last year the EDP Top100 firm was snapped up by Majestic in a £70m deal, which saw Mr Gormley become the chief executive of both companies.

The company, based in Chapelfield Road’s Norvic House, has built its business model around eliminating industry middle men so independent winemakers can produce high quality wine for £7.50 a bottle, up to 50pc less than what is commonly found on the high street, according to the company.

Turnover passed the £81m mark in 2015 and is expected to reach £100m for the year ending March 2016.

Parent company Majestic reported a 12.2pc like-for-like sales increase across the group in the festive period.

In November Majestic said its pre-tax profit tumbled to £4.3m in the six months to September 28 compared to a year ago, as a result of charges from its purchase of Naked Wines.

The business also unveiled an ambitious three-year turnaround plan to almost double annual revenues to £500m by 2019, from current full-year sales of £284.5m posted in June.

Commenting on the festive sales lift, Mr Gormley said: “This is an encouraging result. Majestic Commercial and Naked Wines continued to grow strongly, and I am particularly heartened to see the Majestic Retail business grow as the impact of our better pricing, better service and better looking stores starts to take effect. However there is still much to do.

“We are only three months into our three year plan and although this performance is pleasing it is too early to call it a trend.”

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