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Boden invests in building a customer-led digital business as sales start to recover from the effects of Covid-19

Boden says customers bought more casual wear and fewer dresses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Boden

Boden says it is investing in its website infrastructure to create a customer-led digital business as it recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sales fell by 14% in 2020, but have since grown by 9% in the first half of this year.

The retailer started to implement a new ERP system during 2020, and is now continuing to invest online in 2021 in both website infrastructure and IT systems.

The update came as Boden this week reported group sales of £332.7m for 2020. That’s 14% down on the previous year. Pre-tax profits of £18.5m, however, were up from £15.4m in 2019 as a result of cost controls and margin improvements.  So far this year, first half sales were 9% up on the previous year, and Boden says it is recovering well from the effects of the pandemic – especially in the US. 

Boden, a Top150 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, says that the retailer moved to offer more casual styles, such as loungewear, in a market that proved difficult for women’s dresses and smarter styles during the pandemic. Returns rates fell sharply during Covid-19, though the retailer expects that to revert to more normal levels in 2021. Its warehouses remained open during the pandemic, with strict social distancing in place. All government support has now been repaid. 

The retailer says it continues to improve its sustainability, adopting more environmentally friendly packaging and increasing its use of BCI cotton. 

Johnnie Boden, founder and creative director of Boden, says: “These are a fine set of results for what was a very difficult year. I would like to thank all our people for their efforts during 2020, especially the warehouse teams who worked throughout to keep the business moving. We are now well placed for growth as the Boden brand goes from strength to strength and we are looking forward to the future with renewed confidence.” 

Boden was founded in 1991 and remains privately owned – Johnnie Boden is its majority shareholder. It now sells online in more than 60 countries, with a flagship store, opened in 2017, on London’s King’s Road. Glen T Senk joined the Boden board as chairman in July 2021.

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