* Naked Wines’ revenue jumps 81% during lockdown
* Shares rise 5%
* Posts profit vs year-ago loss for fiscal 2020 (Adding shares, background)
June 24 (Reuters) - Sales at online wine seller Naked Wines soared 81% in April and May compared to a year ago, as orders from British households surged during the country’s coronavirus lockdown, sending its shares 5% higher.
The business developed by Majestic Wine had to temporarily stop taking new orders last month after an unprecedented surge in sales.
“We entered the new financial year with good momentum as COVID-19 has influenced customer shopping behaviour and driven increased demand for the Naked Wines offer,” the company said.
Grape harvests and wine production have been able to continue largely unaffected by the pandemic.
Nick Devlin, who took over as chief executive officer this year, said he believed that the crisis will likely serve as an inflection point for consumers moving their wine purchases online.
Shares in Naked Wines have gained 70% on London’s AIM market so far this year, on track for their best annual run since 2010 and faring far better than wider UK indexes.
However, the company stopped short of providing a full-year outlook due to the possibility of a consumer downturn in the second half of the year and pandemic uncertainties.
Pubs, restaurants and hotels are set to reopen in England early next month, which could mean that online alcohol orders will slow down as people venture out after months of restrictions.
Separately, the company said its current finance chief James Crawford will leave that role and be appointed managing director of the UK business.
Profit after tax for the fiscal year ended March 30 came in at 8.2 million pounds ($10.26 million), after a loss of 9.4 million pounds a year earlier, while revenue climbed 13.7% to 202.9 million pounds.
$1 = 0.7994 pounds Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Muvija M in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Elaine Hardcastle