Majestic Wine says selling all UK stores is an option

Majestic Wine could sell all of its retail stores in the UK under one of several scenarios being considered as part of a transformation strategy.

Plans to raise funds for both online sales and the Naked Wines business arm could see Majestic Wine offload its entire, 200-strong retail store network in the UK.

‘This is one of a number of options we are currently exploring,’ a Majestic spokesperson told Decanter.com.

He confirmed that the wine retailer has been working with investment company Rothschild & Co to explore different scenarios as part of a wide-ranging transformation strategy announced in March this year.

Full details of the plan are set to be released in June, alongside the company’s full-year results, but Majestic has already announced that it will be renamed Naked Wines plc.

In March, it said that asset sales and an unspecified number of store closures would likely form part of a plan to release investment for the Naked Wines division and for online retail sales.

‘Regardless of which route forward we take, our current expectation is that we can release capital from Majestic without erosion of shareholder value; and the one-off costs of exiting retail stores can largely be recouped through asset disposals,’ said Majestic at the time.

It re-iterated that pre-tax profits were on-track to meet analysts’ forecasts for its current financial year and that it was also on-course to hit its £500m sales target.

It also said that it would try to minimise any job losses by transferring staff to the new-look Naked Wines business.

Majestic bought Naked Wines in a £70m deal in 2015. The takeover saw Rowan Gormley, the founder of Naked, become CEO of the newly combined group.

Majestic’s share price has fallen by close to 50% in the past 12 months.

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