Naked Wines parent to shutter UK retail business

red wine2Majestic Wine is reportedly looking to sell its entire UK retail portfolio to focus on its international e-commerce business, Naked Wines.

Bankers at Rothschild have been contacting private equity firms on behalf of the retailer to buy its British bricks-and-mortar business, which includes around 200 stores, according to Sky News.

Majestic Wine acquired Naked Wines in 2015, and appointed the e-commerce company’s founder, South African entrepreneur Rowan Gormley, as CEO of the entire company. Naked Wines now operates in Australia, the UK and the US.

Gormley told investors last month that Majestic would present a transformation plan in June, which would include accelerating growth in the Naked Wines business by releasing capital in Majestic. The brands were to be combined into a single management team under the banner of Naked Wines.

“It is clear Naked Wines has the potential for strong sustainable growth… [and] a transformed Majestic business does have the potential to be a long-term winner. But [we] risk not maximising the potential of Naked if we try to do both,” Gormley said at the time.

Gormley said the business would minimise job losses by migrating employees at the closed stores to the revised Naked brand.

A spokesperson for Majestic told Sky News the combination of migrating existing customers to the Naked brand, selling assets and closing stores would lead to the business becoming an “out-and-out growth business”.

According to Majestic, almost 45 per cent of its business now takes place online, and 20 per cent internationally, providing further growth opportunities should further focus be centered on these areas.

The spokesperson said that “while a total sale of Majestic Retail continues to be a potential option, it would be wholly unwise to pursue a single-track process and materially limit the potential value that can be realised to drive growth.”

Naked Wines Australia has been contacted for comment.

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