Naked Wines has raised its forecast for the full sales year after revenue jumped by 80% in the first half as Covid-19 restrictions continue to boost at-home drinking.

The online wine retailer recorded a surge in sales when bars and restaurants initially had to shut in March. Demand was so high it had to temporarily suspend orders after unprecedented traffic on its website.

It said sales have soared over the past six months, up by around 80% to £157 million in the half-year ending September 2020.

Nick Devlin, chief executive, said: “Naked Wines is a bigger, better business than it was twelve months ago. The last six months have been a critical period in the development of the company. We have delivered exceptional growth and a permanent step change in scale and efficiency for the organisation. We have a business today that is not only larger, but structurally improved and ideally positioned to deliver sustained growth in the coming years.

“Ultimately the most significant impact of Covid-19 on Naked Wines is not found in these interim results, but in the way it has accelerated the growth of the online wine category and increased consumer willingness to trial a new and better way to buy wine.

“Delivering transformative growth, against a backdrop of new working conditions required by Covid-19, has required us to rapidly solve a series of operational challenges. We have done this whilst maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and I am tremendously proud of the resilience, flexibility and capability displayed by our staff around the world.

“I would like to personally thank all of them for their commitment and the passion with which they have pursued our mission to connect the world’s best independent winemakers to our community of wine drinkers.

“Looking ahead, whilst the economic outlook remains uncertain, we move into the second half with continued trading momentum, supported by a strong cash balance and with conviction in the potential to unlock further growth opportunities in all our markets.”