Majestic Wine to buy online rival

Deal said to be worth £70m

Updated: 
Majestic reports drop in sales

Retailer Majestic Wine is to buy online rival Naked Wines for up to £70 million.

Naked Wines, founded in 2008, runs a crowd funded business where around 300,000 subscribers help fund over 130 independent winemakers in 14 countries in exchange for access to exclusive wines at preferential prices.

It generated sales of £74 million last year, up 40% on a year ago, but made a loss of £3.3 million.

The firms said the combination boosted Majestic's online presence while providing Naked Wines with a nationwide store network to allow a click and collect delivery option for its customers.

Majestic and Naked Wines will continue to operate as independent brands.

As part of the deal Naked Wines founder and chief executive Rowan Gormley will take over as boss of the enlarged group. He replaces Majestic's Steve Lewis who left the retailer after six years in February following poor sales.

Majestic Wine trades from over 200 outlets and has over 640,000 active customers. In January it said like-for-like sales edged up 1.1% in the ten weeks to January 5, but that it had to sacrifice margin in order to shift stock during the period. Total sales lifted 3.7%.

Mr Gormley said the deal provided "the very exciting opportunity to build a world class wine retailer, serving customers who are looking for inspiration that the supermarkets cannot provide".

Majestic Wine chairman Phil Wrigley added: "The acquisition of Naked Wines represents a transformational deal. The two businesses have significant strengths which are very complementary."

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