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Markets News

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Naked Wines raises revenue forecast as lockdowns boost wine sales

(Removes reference to Majestic Wine in paragraph 5)

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Naked Wines Plc raised its full-year sales forecast on Thursday after revenue jumped nearly 80% in the first half as more households ordered wine online during coronavirus lockdowns.

With restaurants and bars shut due to pandemic-induced restrictions earlier this year, the London-listed online wine seller recorded a surge in sales and even had to temporarily suspend orders in March after unprecedented traffic on its website.

“Many customers did not know they could order wine online, to be delivered to their door, until COVID-19 motivated them to look, and they are now embracing it,” the company said, adding it now expects sales growth of 55% to 65% for the current year, compared with an earlier forecast of 40%.

Benefiting from the lockdown-driven shift to online buying, the company’s U.S. business reported its strongest revenue growth in the first half and now represents 49% of group sales, it said.

The company said that the positive trading momentum has remained into the start of the second half, adding that it was “mindful of significant levels of political and economic uncertainty.”

Naked Wines, which has a customer base across three markets - the United States, the UK and Australia - also reported a narrower first-half adjusted loss before interest and tax of 3.2 million pounds, compared with a loss of 4.5 million pounds a year ago.

It posted revenue of 157.1 million pounds ($207.92 million) for the 26 weeks ended Sept. 28, compared with 87.5 million pounds a year earlier.

$1 = 0.7556 pounds Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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