US growth boosts Naked Wines sales as transformation plans remain on track

Majestic Wine chief executive Rowan Gormley. Picture: George Brooks

Majestic Wine chief executive Rowan Gormley. Picture: George Brooks - Credit: George Brooks

A wine merchant has reported strong half-year sales as it prepares for the busy Christmas season.

Naked Wines, based in Norwich, increased revenues to £67.8m in the six months to October 2, up from £59m for the same period last year.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) jumped sharply to £4.6m from a loss of £2.8m in 2016.

The firm, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of companies by highest turnover in Norfolk and Suffolk, is profitable in all three of its geographical markets.

Parent company Majestic Wine also saw growth with sales up to £217.4m from £205.6m, while Suffolk-based fine wines division Lay & Wheeler went from £5.4m in 2016 to £6.3m in 2017.

In his report group chief executive Rowan Gormley said growth in the US had driven Naked's success, with sales up nearly 10% and EBIT up by £5.2m, a country where the company had previously struggled.

Majestic has been going through a transformation plan and Mr Gormley said the 'heavy-lifting' had now been done.

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He said: 'The plan is on track.

'Two years in and profits are growing, our foundation is solid and we are ready to accelerate growth. We have the opportunities to invest in new customers and a team excited to focus on what they do best.

'It's time to put our foot on the gas.

'In this half, Naked Wines has demonstrated the quality of its model, people and management, by achieving profitability in all three geographical markets.

'It has become a disciplined business committed to continuous improvement.

'The focus on empowering our wonderful store teams in Majestic Retail has finally borne fruit, with improved staff engagement flowing through into improved customer engagement, which means improved loyalty and retention.

'The team have worked like demons and I am dead proud of every one of them.'