Gormley to step down as Naked Wines boss

Naked Wines chief executive Rowan Gormley is poised to step down from the business he founded, with current chief operating officer Nick Devlin taking up the post in the new year.

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

A company statement explained that his resignation was part of “a number of important changes to enable Naked to enter the next chapter of growth”, including maximising its “significant potential” in the US market – a division of the business that has seen former Argos boss John Walden already take over as chairman.

Naked Wines is in the process of selling its Majestic Wine business to private equity firm Fortress. Once complete, Naked Wines will become an online-only retailer.

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

Gormley’s resignation was announced as part of Naked Wine’s half-year report for the period ending 30 September.

The accounts showed underlying revenue up 13.2 per cent year-on-year to £87.5 million, although its adjusted loss before tax rose from £2.1 million to £4.4 million. Losses before tax for continuing operations also increased by 21.5 per cent to £6.2 million.

Total group figures showed half-year revenue growing by 1.7 per cent year-on-year to £233.1 million, although adjusted operating profit went from a profit of £2.9 million last year to a loss of £1.6 million this year.

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

The retailer said trading was “broadly on track” and hailed sales progress in the US – where revenue was up 24 per cent on a reported basis during the half-year period.

Gormley commented: “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.”

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