Majestic Wine swings to half-year loss, but Gormley confident

Majestic Wine has reported a first-half loss of £4.4m, but sales rose and boss Rowan Gormley insists the “plan is working”. The retailer, which acquired online wineseller Naked last year, said the reported loss in the six months to September 26 was due to costs relating to the £70m deal.

In the same period last year, Majestic reported profits of £4.3m.

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It comes off the back of a profit warning issued in September, when Majestic said earnings would fall below expectations due to “isolated” factors.

However Majestic today reported strong sales as first-half revenues jumped 13.2% on a reported basis to £205.6m.

Retail like-for-likes rose 5.7% despite a “very challenging market”, Majestic said. Customer numbers rose 9.1% to 820,000 active customers, the company said.

Sales at Naked Wines in the period jumped 26.7%.

Gormley said: “Our plan is working. We said that we would deliver sustainable growth, not by opening more stores, but by investing in better customer service and better customer retention.

“Now that we have built a solid platform for future growth, future cost growth will be much lower.”

He also reitereated a committment to hit sales of £500m by 2019.

“We believe that will translate into healthy profit growth now that the step change in investment is complete.”

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