Majestic Wine 'confident' on outlook despite £1.5m loss
Majestic Wine has insisted it is "past the tipping point" with its recovery plan despite swinging to a full-year loss.
The retailer posted pre-tax losses of £1.5 million for the year to April 3 against profits of £4.7 million the previous year, while underlying profits tumbled 29% to £12.9 million on surging costs from the overhaul.
It said underlying earnings shot up 51% in the second half as its turnaround started to bear fruit, with underlying sales growth of 12.1% in the final six months.
Its core Majestic Wine warehouse chain saw like-for-like sales lift 5.7% over the full year as it notched up eight consecutive quarters of rising sales.
Rowan Gormley, group chief executive of Majestic, said: "We are past the tipping point, both financially and operationally."
He added the group is on track to make £500 million in sales by 2019.
"We remain confident about the medium-term outlook, despite tough economic conditions, as transformation benefits are coming through and our costs are naturally coming down as a result of us reaching the next stage of the transformation plan," he said.
The group also announced that chairman Phil Wrigley would retire at the annual general meeting in August.
He will be replaced by non-executive director Greg Hodder.
Majestic said its online brand Naked Wines, which it bought in 2015, also saw strong sales growth, up 26.3% to £142.2 million .
Naked Wines performed well overseas, with US sales jumping 28% higher, while the group said its fine wines business Lay & Wheeler saw sales soar 36.2% after " years of languishing in the doldrums".
Majestic Wine is halfway through a three-year turnaround plan aimed at expanding and retaining its customer base, slowing down branch network expansion, and acquiring new customers for Naked Wines.
The group has 210 Majestic Wine warehouses in the UK and two in France.
It has been growing its international customer base and said overseas sales grew by 52.7% over the year to £88 million.