Naked Wines raises sales forecasts after shoppers crash website


Naked Wines has increased its sales forecasts after shoppers flocked online to order a case or two, with the clamour over its Christmas deals even crashing its website.

The online retailer said that last week it had sold 40,000 of the “deluxe” Christmas boxes, which include foodie treats such as olive olive oil and craft gin as well as wine, in 24 hours. The surge in traffic overwhelmed the site, which was down for about an hour.

James Crawford, the managing director of Naked Wines UK, said shoppers were worried about missing out, given the strain courier firms were under, so were “making sure that they get their order in early”.

Sales at Naked Wines, which sells wine on subscription, increased 80% in the six months to the end of September as more customers signed up for its wine deliveries – and existing ones, called “angels”, bought more. That surge had continued into the winter months, prompting it to upgrade its sales forecast.

Crawford said the retailer had experienced “extraordinary” growth as coronavirus restrictions encouraged more wine drinkers to venture online for the first time. The habit appears to be sticking, with company now expecting annual sales growth of between 55% and 65%.

Sales increased 80% to £157m at the retailer, which last year sold off its high street arm Majestic Wine. Despite the big increase, pre-tax loss widened from £5.4m to £8.1m.

The bigger loss was blamed on a £4m hit relating to the sale of Majestic Wine stores in Calais. The value of the business collapsed after the government dented the lucrative booze cruise trade with less generous duty free allowances after Brexit.

Dan Lane, a senior analyst at the fintech firm Feeetrade, said the share price of the “wannabe Ocado-for-wine” had almost doubled this year as it delivered the nation’s “lockdown libations”.

“The real test is hanging on to customers who flocked to the service during lockdown,” he said. “There are signs that we’re quite happy for this shopping habit to stick around … with monthly order rates rising and their flock of angels growing.”

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