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Lovehoney reports rise in sales and profits thanks to international expansion, and Fifty Shades of Grey

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Lovehoney has reported a strong lift in sales and profits after fast international expansion – and the success of its Fifty Shades of Grey range.

The online sex toy retailer said sales hit £43m in the year to March 31 2015, a rise of 53.4% compared to the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £3.7m were 78.5% up on last time’s £2.1m.

During that financial year, the retailer launched new websites in France, Germany and Australia, and enabled Euro payments – and overseas sales almost trebled, growing from £4.5m to £12m. It also optimised the website for mobile.

Lovehoney, a Top500 retailer in Internet Retailing’s IRUK500 research, has seen strong rises in sales thanks to its official worldwide licence to make all Fifty Shades sex toys. Its ranges now include Red Room, Playroom and Weekend collections, developed with EL James. It said its sales continued to rise after the end of the financial year and following the release of the first Fifty Shades of Grey film in February 2015, which has gone on to become the most successful 18-rated movie of all time. In September it also released a new range of Motörhead branded sex toys endorsed by the heavy metal band’s lead singer Lemmy.

A third of Lovehoney’s sales are of lingerie, and a year ago the retailer launched Lovehoney Lingerie which is now its best-selling lingerie brand.

“We have enjoyed another record year,” said co-founder Neal Slateford, “growing market share and attracting a significant number of new shoppers as the switch from high street to online gathers pace.

“The continued international success of the Fifty Shades of Grey brand has helped to fuel international growth and we have made a number of structural changes to ensure the surge in sales is sustained.

“Mobile sales continues to rise rapidly and we have responded with key improvements to our website.

“Growth has been fuelled too by the increasing acceptance of sex toys as a great way to improve sexual happiness. We are continuing to explore new opportunities for licensing deals due to the success of Fifty Shades and previous celebrity collaborations.”

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