Sales at Norwich-based Naked Wines break the £100m barrier

Naked Wines, founder Rowan Gormely (left), managing director Eamon Fitzgerald. Picture submitted.

Naked Wines, founder Rowan Gormely (left), managing director Eamon Fitzgerald. Picture submitted. - Credit: Archant

Sales at Naked Wines broke the £100m barrier last year, bringing a maiden profit for the crowdfunding retailer.

The EDP/EADT Top100 firm, based in Norwich, saw its group of 'angel' customers number more than 300,000 by the end of last year, and its US business grow by 45%.

The record result comes after it was bought by Majestic Wine in April 2015, in a deal worth up to £70m.

Naked Wines managing director Eamon FitzGerald said: 'We are very proud of the past year. In the year of an acquisition that comes with its opportunities and challenges,

we kept focused on what we do best which is great wine and great service.'

Gross profit reached £35.4m for the year ending March 28, 2016, up from £23.2m the year before.

However adjusted earnings before interest, tax and depreciation reached £1m for the same period, which Mr FitzGerald said was 'bitter sweet'.

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'It is nice to make a profit, but we had intended to invest that in growth, particularly in the US business,' he added.

Sales at Naked Wines, which employs 157 people in Norwich, reached £104.3m, up 27% from £81.9m the year before.

Parent company Majestic posted sales of £402.1m for the same period, although this would have reached £404.5m had the full-year Naked Wines results been included.

The acquisition by Majestic has also seen further growth at Naked Wines' headquarters in Chapelfield Road.

Majestic's IT has been overhauled, and is managed from Norwich, a development which has brought 17 new jobs.

Majestic also owns Colchester-based fine wine merchant Lay and Wheeler, which saw sales fall 8.4% from £10.8m to £9.9m for the same period.

The business, which focuses on en primeur campaigns – in which customers buy wine while it is still in the barrel – was marginally profitable, but due to the volatility of the campaigns, Majestic said it was 'reviewing options' to build a more reliable base of revenue and profit.

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