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Profits up at Boden

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Online and mail-order catalogue fashion retailer Boden has unveiled a 15.9% rise in profits in its latest financial year, as it grew its active customer base to 1.1m.

Boden said sales in the year to December 31 rose by 20.1% to £201.9m, compared to £168.1m in the previous year. Pre-tax profits rose by 15.9% to £28.7m, from £24.8m at the same time last year.

The company pointed to particularly strong growth in Germany, where sales grew by 104% to £16.7m, and said it was in the process of launching into Austria. Growth also continued in the US, despite the consumer downturn.

So far in the current year, the upward trend has continued. First-half sales, to June 30, have grown by 15%, and the company plans to test further European markets in 2011.

However the company said the VAT rise in January 2011 and rising product costs meant it remained cautious for the future.

Chief executive Julian Granville said: “Given the volatile economic environment over the last year, we are very pleased with our strong performance. Our customer base continues to expand and we now have over a million loyal customers worldwide.

“The UK business continues to grow well. We are pleased with our international expansion to date, particularly our business in Germany which has more than doubled in 2009. We are looking forward to testing other European markets next year.”

“Whilst we remain cautious about the current economic and retail environment, the management are confident that Boden is a strong and robust business and brand that will continue to grow.”

Boden was launched in 1991 by Johnnie Boden, inspired by US mail order companies to fill what he saw as a gap in the UK market. The website started in 1999 and 2002 the business launched in America. In 2002 it launched in America, and in 2007 in Germany. Today 67% of UK sales are over the internet, while in the US that figure is 75%. Some 330,000 visitors go to the website every week in the UK, and 190,000 in the US. The US market accounts for almost a third of total sales. An Austrian website launched in September 2009.

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