Boohoo.com said group revenue of £579.8m in the year to February 28 was 97% up on the previous year, while pre-tax profits of £43.3m were 40% ahead. UK sales of £355.6m were 95% up on last time, while US sales of £92.7m were 129% ahead, and rest of Europe sales of £66.3m were 73% up. Within the group, boohoo posted revenues of £374.1m, a 32% rise on last time, PrettyLittleThing revenue of £181.3m, 228% up on last time, and Nasty Gal posted revenue of £24.4m in its first full year of trading.
Joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane said: “Against a backdrop of difficult trading in the UK clothing sector, the group continued to perform well, gaining market share in the expanding online sector. Our international business showed higher growth rates, and we are pleased with its gathering momentum.
“Our strategy will remain focused on providing the best fashion at great prices coupled with excellent customer service. To this end, we have a plan of continuous investment in systems and technology to ensure we offer an optimal online shopping experience. International expansion will continue as we add more country-specific websites, refine our brands’ customer proposition and raise brand awareness through marketing and social media. Our extended distribution centre, which will have a significant element of automation to drive efficiency savings, is scheduled for operational use in early 2019.”
Here’s what the retailer, founded in Manchester in 2006, said about its multichannel strategy.
Operations and logistics
The group raised £50m from a share placing during the year to build and automate a new distribution centre, which is next to its group distribution centre in Burnley and is currently being fitted ahead for use in early 2019. It features “a significant amount of automation,” which the retailer says will improve picking efficiency and see fast payback on capital invested. The overall distribution space will be large enough to house operations turning over more than £1bn in net sales. In the first half of the current financial year, PrettyLittleThing is to relocate its stock to a different, third-party managed, warehouse, which will also add incremental capacity to overall operations.
Free returns and next-day delivery was extended to more overseas markets during the year.
Marketing is focused on social media, bloggers email, TV and on the digital acquisition. By the end of the year, boohoo.com had 4.8m followers on Instagram, 2.7m Facebook likes and 0.6m followers on Twitter. PrettyLittleThing had 1.2m followers on Facebook (+51% up on last time), 0.3m Twitter followers, 3.3m Instagram followers (+106%) and 2m YouTube views. Nasty Gal had 2.6m Instagram followers, 1.3m Facebook likes and 0.2m Twitter followers.
Boohoo customer numbers grew by 22% to 6.4m by the year-end. Customers placed an average of 2.13 orders over the course of a year, buying an average of 3.06 items - a 6% increase on last time. Conversion rates on the website along rose to 4.3% of sessions, from 4.0% previously. Improved customer service response times and more country-specific websites are a priority for the future.
PrettyLittleThing launched its first foreign language website during the year – in French – and more are set to be launched in 2019. Its active customer numbers grew by 128% to 3m over the year.
Image recognition has been added, enabling customers to upload an image and find similar products in the Boohoo range. The retailer is now looking to use this in areas such as outfit builder and shop the look.
Mobile devices are now used for 73% of Boohoo sessions. BoohooMan apps launched for the UK,US and Australian markets.
PrettyLittleThing saw 20% of customer visits coming via its app - up from 10% the previous year.
Nasty Gal has Android and iOS apps for the UK, US and Australian markets.