Boohoo bucks high street woes as sales surge

Online fashion firm Boohoo has shown its high street rivals a clean pair of heels after revealing a 44% surge in sales and upping its annual sales outlook.

The group, which also owns the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands, reported total group revenues of £328.2 million for the final four months of 2018, up from £228.2 million a year earlier.

In the UK – its largest market – revenues rose 33% to £180 million.

Its main Boohoo brand saw sales lift 15% to £163.5 million, while revenues rose 95% at PrettyLittleThing to £144.2 million and increased 74% at Nasty Gal to £20.6 million.

Boohoo said it now expects revenues for the year to February 28 to rise by between 43% and 45%, ahead of its previous guidance of 38% to 43%.

It comes in stark contrast to high street rivals, which endured a tough November in the run-up to the festive season when the weather was unusually warm.

Marks & Spencer last week said it saw like-for-like clothing and home sales drop 2.4% over the 13 weeks to December 29.

Boohoo joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane said they were “delighted” with the results for the festive period.

They added: “The global growth opportunity is significant and we will be addressing it in a controlled way – investing in our proposition, operations and infrastructure to capitalise on the opportunity.”

In the company’s international operations, growth was the most marked in America, where sales surged 78% to £70.4 million, while sales lifted 57% across the rest of Europe and 35% in the rest of the world.

The update comes after Boohoo booked a 50% rise in sales to £395.3 million in the six months to August 31, while pre-tax profit rocketed 22% to £24.7 million.

Boohoo announced earlier this year that Mr Kamani and Ms Kane are to be replaced as joint bosses by John Lyttle from March 15 2019.

Mr Kamani will become executive chairman, moving him away from the day-to-day running of the business, while Ms Kane stays on as group co-founder and executive director.

Boohoo started life in Manchester in 2006, before snapping up PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal in 2017.

It now has more than 11 million customer accounts across its brands worldwide.