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Naked Wines sales soar 81% during lockdown as Britons hit the bottle

The firm said an ‘unprecedented’ jump in demand meant it was forced to stop taking on new customers and temporarily halt orders in March.

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Soaring demand for online booze deliveries during the coronavirus lockdown has seen sales at Naked Wines rocket (PA)

Soaring demand for online booze deliveries during the coronavirus lockdown has seen sales at Naked Wines rocket (PA)

Soaring demand for online booze deliveries during the coronavirus lockdown has seen sales at Naked Wines rocket (PA)

Soaring demand for online booze deliveries during the coronavirus lockdown has seen sales at Naked Wines rocket more than 80% higher in April and May.

The firm said an “unprecedented” jump in demand amid the lockdown meant it was forced to stop taking on new customers and temporarily halt orders in March.

It began taking on new customers again in early April and saw sales jump 81% in the first two months of its new financial year.

The group saw new customers surge 256% over April and May, with repeat customer sales up 50%.

Naked Wines chief executive Nick Devlin, who took on the role earlier this year, said the coronavirus crisis would spark a shift towards online wine demand.

He said: “I believe the crisis will likely serve as an inflection point for consumer migration online for wine purchases.”

“The past months during the Covid-19 pandemic massively increased awareness of online models and increased the perceived legitimacy of online within the wine category,” he added.

Shares in the group rose as much as 6% as its results for the year to March 31 also showed pre-tax losses almost halving to £5.4 million from £9.9 million the previous year as revenues jumped 13.7%.

I believe the enduring impact of Covid-19 will be to accelerate trends towards direct, online models in categories like wineNick Devlin, Naked Wines chief executive

Despite the lockdown sales boost since the year-end, Naked Wines said it could not give a full-year outlook for 2020-21 due to the “uncertainty as to how long current trading conditions will persist”.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that pubs, restaurants and hotels can reopen in England next month, which may dent demand for online tipple deliveries.

But Mr Devlin said: “I believe the enduring impact of Covid-19 will be to accelerate trends towards direct, online models in categories like wine.”

Naked Wines was able to boost its daily shipment capacity by 65% in the UK and 70% in the US during the lockdown.

It is also planning to move to seven-days-a-week warehouse and customer service operations, while also investing in automation and equipment to boost capabilities.

Wayne Brown, an analyst at Liberum, said Naked Wines’ full-year results were as expected, but added that the coronavirus crisis had given the business a “huge boost” at the start of 2020-21.

Naked Wines was set up in 2008 and merged with Majestic Wine Warehouse in 2015.

Majestic then rebranded as Naked Wines after its faster-growing online business and the Majestic Wine retail chain was sold to US private equity firm Fortress Investment Group last August.

PA