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Virgin Wines plans £100m stock market float

Virgin Wines is to float on the London Stock Exchange in March with a valuation of £100m, due to the recent surge in growth in direct to consumer wine sales.

Virgin Wines CEO Jay Wright is happy with the firm’s “strong, consistent growth”

As reported by The Guardian, Virgin Wines plans to be listed on London’s junior Aim market on 2 March, targeting a valuation of around £100m.

One of the UK’s leading home delivery wine businesses, the company, which was bought out of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group in 2005, has 169,000 active customers, of which 147,000 are members of its subscription schemes.

It sells its stock through its WineBank and Wine Plan subscription schemes, but also on a pay-as-you-go basis. Virgin Wines has enjoyed a surge in sales over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic shuttering the on-trade.

With consumers unable to treat themselves to restaurant meals, they have been willing to spend more on their at-home wine consumption as a lockdown treat.

“We have enjoyed strong, consistent growth recently, resulting in the group delivering over one million cases of wine to consumers during 2020.

“Underpinned by the strength of our customer proposition as well as the benefit of many positive consumer trends, we have a clear strategy to continue this growth over the coming years,” Virgin Wines’ CEO, Jay Wright, told The Guardian.

Virgin Wines’ arrival on the London Stock Exchange sees it follow in the footsteps of Deliveroo and Moonpig, both of which benefittef from the pandemic in terms of changing consumer buying habits.

Alcohol e-commerce is a burgeoning sector poised for future growth. Earlier this month Uber acquired drinks delivery firm Drizly for $1.1bn (£790m).

“The trend towards more online-ordered, home-delivered supply is highly likely to continue even after the hospitality sector reopens,” Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, told the Financial Times.

“In practice, sales via these channels have seen growth for some time, but this trend has accelerated rapidly during the past year. And, while it is likely to slow again, and indeed reverse, the trend is here to stay.”

Following the floatation, Virgin Wines plans to invest in growth opportunities, including its newly formed beer and spirits unit.

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