Sales have risen at the winemaker for the first time in five years

Accolade Wines has taken the first step to recovery, growing its turnover for the first time in five years, latest financials reveal.

Revenues at the troubled Echo Falls and Hardys owner grew just over £3m to £476.7m for the year ending 30 June 2018, results filed with Companies House this year show. Operating profits grew £11.2m to £16.2m after plummeting by over £16m in 2017 when the devaluation of the pound hit the cost of importing wine.

The upturn in growth was thanks to “improving the mix of products throughout the year”, said Accolade northern hemisphere GM for finance Andy Smith.

“In addition, the recovery of GBP has reduced the cost of imported products, offset in part by the decrease in profit margins following the negative initial consequences of the Brexit vote.”

He added: “The gains in GBP within the year against most major currencies did however result in foreign exchange losses on the revaluation of foreign denimated bank and loan balances.”

Accolade Wines’ financials 2014-2018 
  30-Jun-14 30-Jun-15 30-Jun-16 30-Jun-17 20-Jun-18
Revenue (£m) £625.6 £617.3 £509.8 £473.3 £476.7
Op. profit (£m) £21.70 £29 £21.3 £4.8 £16.2

Accolade has spent much of the past years struggling to combat declining sales, which had fallen steadily since 2014, when turnover hit a high of £625m. 

The company, which was sold by previous owners Champ Private Equity to another firm, The Carlyle Group, in early 2018, has since kicked off a major ‘strategic review’ which will see its EMEA office closed and all European operations moved to its UK base under current GM Ade McKeon.

It also plans to cut numerous jobs across its finance, IT and support services - although the exact scope of cuts is not yet clear. 

McKeon told The Grocer last month Accolade’s UK performance for the current financial year was “in line with our expectations and ahead of our internal measure” and the changes were about “making the business more effective as a whole”.

He said: “We do not intend duplicating and replicating the existing structure in EMEA but consolidating the UK and EMEA into one organisation.

“These changes will enable Accolade to better utilise our scale and capability across Europe, free up resources to be able to invest into areas of future growth and drive consistency in our strategy and investment.”

Read more: how can Accolade return to winning ways post Brexit?