Online furniture store says UK business is profitable for first time after surge in orders

The six-year-old company announced that group sales soared by 44 per cent to £62 million in the year to December as the online generation started to furnish their own homes.

Chief executive Ning Li said shoppers who have grown up buying clothes and other items online were now becoming home-makers.

‘As the Asos generation reaches their 30s it is very natural for them to buy online,’ he said. ‘Those who grew up buying fashion online are now moving into their own homes and looking to buy furniture in the same way. The internet is their first stop.’

An estimated one-fifth of fashion is now bought online compared with less than a tenth in the furniture market.
Online furniture store, backed by dotcom entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, said its UK business has become profitable for the first time after a surge in orders last year. said it made a ‘small profit’ in the UK. It recorded a group loss of £6.2 million as it invested heavily in its operations in Germany and France, opened new showrooms including Soho in London and hired more staff.

The company, which employs 250 people and sells about 3,000 products, raised $60 million (£38 million) from investors last year to help accelerate growth.

Li added: ‘We have demonstrated that the UK can make a profit, which is an important milestone for an online retailer.

‘We are happy with the way things are going and have more than doubled in size in two years.’