Naked Wines founder & CEO to resign amid widening losses

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Naked Wines CEO Rowan Gormley to resign amid widening losses
// Naked Wines CEO & founder Rowan Gormley to resign after Christmas trading period
// COO Nick Devlin will take over as the new boss
// Announcement made in half-year report, which revealed widening losses but increased sales

Naked Wines chief executive Rowan Gormley is poised to step down from the alcohol retailer he founded once the Christmas trading season is complete.

Current chief operating officer Nick Devlin has been confirmed as the new chief executive once Gormley departs.

Gormley founded Naked Wines in 2008 and continued to lead the business when it merged with Majestic Wine in 2015.


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Naked Wines said his resignation was part of “a number of important changes to enable Naked to enter the next chapter of growth”.

This includes maximising its “significant potential” in the US market, a division of the business that has seen former Argos boss John Walden has already take over as chair.

Naked Wines is also in the process of selling its Majestic Wine business to private equity firm Fortress, four years after the two alcohol retailers merged.

Once complete, this will effectively bring Naked Wines back to be being an online-only retailer.

Meanwhile, Majestic Wine will also welcome back former managing director John Colley to the position of executive chair.

Gormley’s impending resignation was announced at the same time as Naked Wine’s half-year report for the period ending September 30.

While underlying revenue for Naked Wines’ continuing operations surged 13.2 per cent year-on-year to £87.5 million, adjusted loss before tax more than doubled from £2.1 million to £4.4 million.

On a reported basis, loss before tax for continuing operations widened by 21.5 per cent to £6.2 million.

Naked Wines added that reported EBIT for the continuing business came in at a loss of £5.7 million, £1 million more than last year, while reported EBIT for the discontinued business of £200,000 was £4.8 million adverse year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Naked Wines’ total group figures showed that half-year revenue grew 1.7 per cent year-on-year to £233.1 million, but adjusted operating profit swung from a profit of £2.9 million last year to a loss of £1.6 million this year.

Adjusted pre-tax profit also swung to a loss of £3.1 million compared to a profit of £2.5 million last year.

Half-year loss before tax on the other hand widened from £200,000 last year to £7 million this year.

Naked Wines attributed the losses to a £2.3 million increase in investment to acquire new customers.

Despite the figures, Naked said trading was “broadly on track” and hailed sales progress in the US – where revenue surged 24 per cent on a reported basis during the half-year period.

“We have built a solid foundation for growth,” Gormley said.

“Naked Wines is now a pureplay online retailer, with a huge opportunity in the US wine market, and the resources to capitalise on that opportunity.

“Trading has been broadly on track in the first half. Naked’s US business is well up on the key measures of investment, payback and sales.”

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