UK restrictions easing lifts pub group as Naked Wines stalls

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Shares in an AIM-listed online merchant – a pandemic winner – fell as much as 21% in early trading

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He is providing a Christmas start to UK pub groups for “some semblance of what was known as mediocrity” – but caused a headache for one of the pandemic’s online stars.

As west London-based pub chain Fuller’s turned a profit on Thursday morning, doorstep delivery firm Naked Wines saw growth slowing as restrictions were lifted.

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Shares of the AIM-listed merchant fell as much as 21% in early trading after the company lowered full-year sales guidance from £355-£375 million to £340-£355 million, and said it was looking to acquire new But dialing back the expense. Customer.

Naked also warned of lower repeat sales margins as it faces rising supply chain and storage costs.

Reported sales for the half year on 27 September were up just 1% on £159.3 million in the first half of last year.

CEO Nick Devlin told Standard: “One thing that was a little more challenging during the last six months was that getting customers was a little harder than in 2020, which is not a huge surprise.

“But it does mean that we have slightly reduced the amount we spend on acquiring customers, to make sure we are generating the right returns and getting the right value from those investments.

“There is some generalization in customer behavior – we all have an overwhelming desire to go and linger in experiences.”

Devlin, however, emphasized the company’s strong retention of subscriber members signed up during the lockdown, and said the company is well prepared for its biggest Christmas season yet. Naked now has 947,000 members – up 25% as of November 2020.

Last month, Light Street Capital founder Glenn Katcher dubbed the company the “Netflix of wine” and told CNBC that he thinks its stock has the potential to quadruple in value over the next four-and-a-half years. Shares rose 13% to 742p on October 29, but fell a little more than 21% today to 528p.

Naked’s update comes after Fuller posted profits in the first half and reported sales of 90% over the past two months at 2019 levels.

The group reported a £10.6 million pre-tax profit in the six months to 25 September, up from a £23 million loss in the same period last year, and issued a dividend of 3.9p per share.

Fuller, which has about 400 mostly freehold pubs, was burning through £5 million a month in lockdown and completed a £52 million share in April to see it through. Now his eyes are on the detail.

Boss Simon Amy told the Standard that the pace in central London right now is “really encouraging”.

“With the lifting of international travel restrictions just 10 days ago we have seen further progress in City and the West End, and with Christmas coming up it is really exciting and good for 2022,” he said.

“We’ve seen a huge jump in inquiries and bookings for Christmas.”

Shares of Fuller rose 2.6%, or 16.8p, to 659p this morning.


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