Naked Wines today suggested that the Covid-19 pandemic appears to have brought a lasting shift towards online sales to the wine market.
The online retailer, ranked Top500 in RXUK Top500 research, now expects that sales in the first four months of its financial year will be 76% up on the same time last year. The retailer will hit that figure if July sales come in 73% ahead of last July, as expected, thanks to a 185% increase in new customers – thanks to a 115% increase in investment in new customers – and a 58% rise in sales to existing customers.
The online retailer, which last year shifted its focus from multichannel to pureplay selling when it disposed of the Majestic Wine chain of shops, today said in a trading update that it was planning for a range of scenarios – with the central scenario assuming full-year sales could come in 40% ahead of last time.
Chief executive Nick Devlin said: “I’m pleased to report continued strong rates of new customer growth and particularly strong repeat trading momentum as we see evidence of new customers recruited during the Covid-19 pandemic converting to repeat customers. I’m especially grateful for the incredible work of our teams around the world who have enabled us to deliver this step change in performance under challenging operating conditions.
“The evidence we are seeing across our markets is consistent with our view that Covid-19 has served as an inflection point for the online wine market, with Naked uniquely placed to benefit from that. We have the balance sheet strength and operational agility to enable Naked to continue to focus on ways to accelerate growth and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new and evolving consumer landscape."
The update came in an AGM trading update published ahead of today’s annual meeting. John Walden steps down as chairman following the meeting, to be succeeded by Ian Harding until his own scheduled retirement next summer.