June 24, 2020 / 3:24 PM / 11 days ago

Online seller Naked Wines' sales pop as lockdown boosts orders

(Reuters) - Online wine subscription company Naked Wines said on Wednesday revenue soared 81% during the first two months of fiscal year 2021, with people ordering more wine for delivery during the coronavirus-led lockdown.

“We entered the new financial year with good momentum as COVID-19 has influenced customer shopping behaviour and driven increased demand for the Naked Wines offer,” the company said.

Separately, the company, best known as the online business developed by Majestic Wine before the chain was sold last year, said its current finance chief James Crawford will leave the position to be appointed as the managing director of Naked Wines’ UK business.

Naked Wines said its profit after tax for fiscal year ended March 30 came in at 8.2 million pounds ($10.26 million), from a loss of 9.4 million pounds a year earlier, while revenue climbed 13.7% to 202.9 million pounds.

The online seller temporarily stopped taking new orders last month after an unprecedented surge in business as Britons stockpiled food and drink during the lockdown.

Grape harvests and wine production have been able to continue largely unaffected by the pandemic as winemakers are considered agricultural.

However, Naked Wines stopped short of providing a full-year outlook due to the possibility of a consumer downturn in the second half and ongoing pandemic-driven market uncertainties.

($1 = 0.7994 pounds)

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Muvija M in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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