UK-based specialist wine retailer Majestic Wine has announced it intends to invest between £9m and £12m to attract new customers for its Naked Wines business, reducing its earnings for the 2018-9 financial year by approximately £3m.

The company claims this investment could increase its annual generation of future value from £48m to more than £80m.

The retailer has announced that between £7m and £10m will be spent on growth and £2m will be spent on ensuring the growth is driven safely and sensibly.

Strong sales by the Naked Wine subsidiary were behind the whole company’s adjusted profit before tax for first half of the 2017-8 financial year increasing to £6.8m.

Majestic Wine CEO Rowan Gormley said: “We are in the fortunate position of having the option to accelerate growth by investing in new customer acquisition. We are starting from a good place with the core business on track to meet our 2019 sales target of £500m and the market’s expectation for profits and dividend in Full Year 2018.

“In the last three years, we have doubled sales at Naked Wines and delivered profitability in all three markets [the UK, US and Australia] after increasing investment in new customer acquisition. We believe we can double the level of investment again while maintaining the returns, driving sustained growth in shareholder value.

“On a risk/return basis, the case for accelerating investment is clear. We can measure success in months while delivering returns over years. This is the right thing to do to maximise shareholder value.”

Naked Wines is an online wine retailer founded by Gormley in 2008, however, it was only acquired by Majestic Wine in 2015.

It is a platform for customers to fund independent winemakers across the world in return for access to unusual wines at wholesale prices. It is currently operational in the UK, US and Australia.

The retailer was profitable in 2017 with pre-tax adjusted earnings of £4.7m, a significant improvement on 2016 when it registered a loss of £2.8m.