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Naked Wines shares sink as boss set to retire

The wine company also widened its loss before tax to £6.2mln from £5.1mln in the same period a year ago, due to weaker repeat customer performance, management changes and the lacklustre UK market

Majestic Wine PLC -
The online-only wine company is currently selling brand Majestic for £95mln

Naked Wines PLC (LON:WINE) shares dropped after the company's well-regarded chief executive Rowan Gormley gave notice that he will step down.

In an update on Thursday, the AIM-listed wine company said that Gormley will step down after the busy Christmas trading season and the August-announced sale of Majestic for £95mln is complete.

Naked Wines said that director Nick Devlin is now set to replace Gormley as chief executive, after first “proving himself in the chief operating officer role” during the past 18 months.

Self-confessed "startup guy" Gormley said that it is time to hand over to a new team, saying that it takes “different skills” to run Naked Wines now, which he built “from zero to £200mln of revenues”.

The departing boss said he also intends to remain a “significant shareholder” and “material customer” of Naked.

In a separate update on Thursday, the company said it made a loss before tax of £6.2mln in the six months to 30 September, worsening from £5.1mln in the same period a year earlier, which it said was due to “weaker repeat customer performance as a result of disruption due to the Majestic disposal, management changes and the lacklustre UK market”.

Nevertheless, sales were up 16% to £87.5mln, with the US the largest and fastest growing market.

The company plans to invest a further £20-25mln in gaining new customers over the year, with an expected sales retention rate of 82%.

Shares fell 3% to 255.7p in Thursday morning trading.

Quick facts: Majestic Wine PLC

Price: 215 GBX

AIM:WINE
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £156.58 m
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