SYDNEY, AAP – An online venture set up to connect wine-loving Australians with independent producers has posted significantly higher full-year sales.

Naked Wines, which helps small winemakers find customers and vice versa, enjoyed a sales boom of 42 per cent to $84.2 million over the 12 months to March 29.

Like many specialist online retailers, the company has benefited from Australians spending more money online during the pandemic.

Naked Wines Australia managing director Alicia Kennedy said the shift to buying wine online was continuing after lockdowns.

That is supported by the company’s financial statements.

Repeat customer profit for Australia improved by 44 per cent to $17.9 million.

Ms Kennedy said repeat customer sales continued to be strong in the first two months of Naked’s new financial year.

She said many people tried ordering through Naked for the first time during lockdowns.

Their decision to make repeat purchases showed they value the service, she said.

Despite the sales success, the Australian operation’s full-year earnings before interest and tax declined by 24 per cent to $1.6 million.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and filings show spending on gaining new Aussie customers rose by 89 per cent to $10.2 million.

Naked had greater success overseas.

Earnings in its most mature market, the UK, jumped by 81 per cent to $20.2 million.

Britons helped sales rise by 66 per cent.

In the US, increasing order frequency from customers helped sales climb 78 per cent.

Earnings for the US operation were higher by 43 per cent to $3.7 million.

However, the US market has the greatest potential and Naked leaders will be hoping the sales growth continues.

The Naked group posted a full-year loss before tax of $19.8 million.

The company attributed this to spending 113 per cent more on winning new customers.