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Flat year for Lay & Wheeler

Lay & Wheeler saw its adjusted revenue hit £27.148 million in the year to April 2023, despite a flat year “on a par with 2022”, which saw operating profits hit by the consolidation of its wine storage and logistics in-house.

Sales were up marginally (0.3% year on year) from last year’s adjusted revenue of £27.075 million, but adjusted operating losses were recorded as £131,000, up from adjusted  £148,000 profit the previous year – a figure which effectively takes into account en primeur sales and acts as key financial and performance indicator.

The operating loss was “in line with pre-year expectations” the company stated, noting that the business was pushing ahead with a five-year investment plan which includes consolidating its wine storage and logistics in-house. It

Despite the relatively flat year in 2023, it should be noted that since Lay & Wheeler was bought by private family group Coterie Holdings in October 2019, turnover at the fine wine merchant has nearly doubled, from £15.27 million in the year to April 2019 to £27.148 million in 2023.

It was previously owned by Naked Wines, but under the new private ownership set about strengthening its team and boosting its fine wine offering. 2020 saw it record its best results in a decade, which the then-managing director Katy Keating attributed more to the business turnaround than to any temporary uplift provided by the pandemic.

The documents filed at Companies House also note that in August, Lay & Wheeler transitioned to a newly formed UK parent company, which is registered to the UK. There has also been changes at the top, with managing director Katy Keating moving to Flint Wines in June 2023.

Since the end of the financial year, there have been big changes in the wider parent company, which includes the acquisition of  Hallgarten & Novum Wines in December 2023  for an undisclosed sum. Former Bibendum chief and chairman of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), Michael Saunders was appointed as the new CEO of parent group Coterie Holdings from 1 January 2024, with Andrew Shaw, the former head of trading at Marks & Spencer who worked with Saunders for nine years as buying director at Bibendum, named as the group’s new wine director, and James Scott, from C&C Group’s insight, analytics and research business, Proof, appointed as chief data officer.

In addition to Lay & Wheeler, Coterie Holdings is the parent company for bonded storage facility Coterie Vaults and wine lending business Jera. It is chaired by former Berry bros. & Rudd CFO Chris Robinson.


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