Rowan Gormley

Naked Wines shares crashed this week after a delay to its annual results, a warning on sales and the replacement of its chairman with founder Rowan Gormley.

The online wine merchant was scheduled to release its annual results on Thursday, but on Tuesday announced a postponement of the release as it restructured its leadership team.

Naked founder Rowan Gormley has returned as chairman, replacing David Stead, as the group released a gloomy trading update.

It said first quarter sales were “below expectations”, largely as a result of reduced new customer recruitment.

Extrapolating this performance would mean annual revenues of £300m – some £50m shy of the projected total for its 22/23 financial year, which itself is down around 7%.

Broker Liberum downgraded Naked from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’ on the news. “We have historically questioned Naked Wines’ ability to sustainably drive profitable growth and did not appreciate the stop/start strategy that brought about too much volatility,” it said.

“It seems those days could return.”

Naked shares fell 10% on Tuesday to 89p and are now down 50% year on year.

Gormley commented: “My thanks to David and the team for executing a challenging transition in a turbulent market. With a proven ability to deliver profit we now progress to the next stage, and develop plans to deliver profitable, sustainable growth.

“I am excited to return to a much larger business that has an exciting future ahead and I look forward to working closely with the reshaped Board to deliver on Naked’s full potential.”

The group has also appointed Jack Pailing of investment group Colebrooke Partners to a non-exec role the board.