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Boohoo reports 32% rise in sales as it expands by adding Debenhams and three Arcadia Group brands to its business

Image courtesy of Boohoo Group

Boohoo Group today reports sales up by nearly a third after a quarter of strong expansion that has seen it add a series of leading brands to its business.

The sales growth came at the same time as the fast-growing online fashion group bought the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from the failed Arcadia Group, adding them to its platform in only nine weeks. It also bought Debenhams, and has now launched the former high street stalwart as an online-only digital department store, selling fashion, beauty and homewares. 

Boohoo today reported sales of £486m in the three months to May 31. That’s 32% up on the same time last year. Sales in the UK grew by 50% to £274.6m, while US sales were 43% up at £131.9m. But sales to the rest of Europe fell by 14% to £54.7m and those to the rest of the world fell by 15% to £24.9m. 

John Lyttle, Boohoo Group chief executive, says: “I am delighted with our performance in the first quarter, particularly as it was always going to be challenging to produce strong growth rates on last year, when lockdowns around the globe drove such high traffic to online retailers. The two-year CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 38% highlights the group’s continued phenomenal growth, with revenues having increased 91% over the last two years, with particularly strong performance in key markets such as the UK and US, where sales have more than doubled. 

“This quarter we have integrated and relaunched our newly‐acquired brands, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton, and we have also relaunched Debenhams for fashion, beauty and homeware, adding ranges, with an exciting pipeline of brands for our digital department store.”

The retail group now has net cash of £199.1m, down from £276m in February, following investments of £143.5m in offices and infrastructure. Its London-based brands are now working from its new Soho offices, while a new distribution centre in Wellingborough is now live, and one in Daventry is set to start operating this quarter. The group has previously said that the Daventry centre would give it the capacity to grow to £4bn in sales, adding up to 1,000 new jobs to the existing 330 workers at the same.  Today it said it would  support the next phase of the Boohoo Group’s growth. 

Looking ahead, Boohoo now expects sales to grow by about 25% in the year to February 28 2022, and adjusted earnings before interest, tax and one-off costs to be in the region of between 9.5% and 10%, despite continuing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Agenda for Change

Over the last year the group has followed an Agenda for Change initiative, appointing Sir Brian Leveson and KPMG to oversee its journey towards an ethical supply chain, that started last summer in response to allegations of poor factory working conditions and pay below minimum wages levels. Since then it has published its UK manufacturing list, is committed to doing the same for its global supplier list in September, and is working on a new sustainability strategy. 

In his latest report, Sir Brian says: “The Responsible Sourcing and Ethical Trade teams are now focussed on continuous assessment of its UK manufacturing base and is demonstrating a degree of due diligence which may well go beyond that which is undertaken by other retailers or in other industries.”

Lyttle says: “We continue to make great progress on our Agenda for Change programme, with this morning’s latest report from Sir Brian Leveson outlining the seriousness with which the Group is determined to develop and demonstrate a gold standard in our supply chain. Our ongoing investment in infrastructure and our platform leaves us well‐placed to maximise the opportunities for growth as we build the business for the future.” 

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