Boohoo revenues soar 41% to £1.7bn, boosted by the pandemic’s online shopping boom

Joanna Bourke
·3-min read
Boohoo has seen sales leap during the pandemic (Boohoo)
Boohoo has seen sales leap during the pandemic (Boohoo)

Boohoo, one of the beneficiaries of the big growth in online shopping during the pandemic, has seen full year sales come in ahead of City forecasts, soaring 41% to £1.7 billion.

The digital fashion retailer said “revenue growth across all territories and brands was strong” in the year to February 28. UK sales leapt 39%.

In addition, Boohoo said that trading in the first few weeks of the financial year has been encouraging. Since the start of the year it has expanded the business with a number of acquisitions, such as the Debenhams and Wallis brands.

However, it cautioned that the economic outlook remains uncertain and it said: “We expect the benefits seen from reduced returns over the last twelve months to begin to unwind this year, whilst still experiencing significantly elevated levels of carriage and freight costs.”

Chief executive John Lyttle pointed to reduced returns during the virus crisis as people bought less clothes that are “more fit sensitive”, such as going out dresses. Transport costs have been higher due to high demand for fewer planes, as travel restrictions remain in place.

Group revenue growth in the year to February 2021 was ahead of the 39% rise analysts had pencilled in.

Pretax profit improved to £124.7 million from £92.2 million.

During the period it saw huge customer demand as numerous high street stores were closed at various points for lockdowns, and it made a number of acquisitions.

But the AIM-listed group’s Leicester supply chain came under the spotlight in 2020 following reports of alleged low pay and unsafe conditions. The company launched an independent review, and the findings identified a number of areas where the group could demonstrate improved levels of corporate governance.

It has stepped up its efforts to raise standards across the supply chain, including scaling back the number of firms it works with, having weeded out those who do not comply with its newly rigorous “sustainable sourcing” rules.

Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, group co-founders, today said: “Over the last year the group has made great progress, delivering another set of record results despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have made significant progress on our Agenda for Change programme, with greater oversight of our supply chain, stronger governance and more transparency.”

Looking ahead, revenue growth for the year to February 2022 is expected to be around 25% at a group level.

Boohoo said that whilst it did see some benefits to demand in the last financial year due to lockdowns around the world, “core categories” such as dresses and going out saw significant declines.

The company said as markets re-open “we are already seeing the early benefits of this” and it is well positioned to capitalise on any rebound in key geographies as markets exit lockdown globally.

In London Boohoo recently bought a new office in Soho, which will house staff from some of the newly acquired brands.

Lyttle said that when allowed, there will hopefully be a number of people working in the office for part of the week.

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