Boohoo raises war chest to spend on pandemic buying opportunities

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Boohoo has raised almost £200m to spend on expanding its online fashion business by taking advantage of the “numerous opportunities” it expects to see in coming months.

The fast fashion retailer today said it had raised £197.7m through a new share issue. It now plans to build on its previous acquisitions including the Karen Miller and Coast brands, which it bought out of administration in 2019, and before that the MissPap and NastyGal brands, acquired in 2017. These, it says, have shown its ability to develop and grow brands  and integrate them into its platforms. Now it sees “significant opportunity to replicate this success globally”. The business’ ambition is to lead the global fashion ecommerce market. 

It also said this week that the trading of its existing businesses had been “mixed” in March, with sales falling by a “marked decrease” compared to last year before improving in April with year-on-year sales growth.

In yesterday’s notice about its proposed bookbuild it said: “The group is pleased to update shareholders that trading into May remains robust. The group does, however, remain cautious regarding the outlook as a result of the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic together with the impact of lifting lockdown restrictions and the potential influence on competitive behaviour for the remainder of the year.”

Boohoo Group said it would not be appropriate to provide guidance for the year ending February 2021 “given the uncertainty generated by the continually evolving Covid-19 pandemic”. 

Boohoo. com, founded in Manchester in 2006, now has just under 14m customers across all of its brands around the world. The pureplay fast fashion business is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research.

Record falls in the UK economy have been forecast in recent weeks and since the start of lockdown fashion retail brands including Laura Ashley, Oasis and Warehouse have gone into administration. Boohoo will be hoping to make the most of similar future opportunities. 

Image courtesy of Boohoo Group

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