AO.com has reported half-year losses due to the start-up costs relating to expanding into Germany, but UK sales were up 23.7%.

Total revenue for the six months to 30 September increased 21.7% to £264.3 million, while UK revenue increased 14.5% to £248.6 million.

UK sales increased 23.7% to £214.8 million, but UK EBITDA profits dropped from £7.3 million in 2014, to £5.1 million this period.

Overall operating losses stood at £8.9 million, compared to the £900,000 profit made in 2014. The e-tailer stated this was down to investment in Germany and the start-up costs of expanding further into Europe.

AO.com's German office and distribution centre will open in 2016 with around 35,000m2 of warehouse space. The e-tailer also announced its plans to begin trading in the Netherlands early next year, but it believes the start-up costs for its Netherlands operations will not have a material impact on the group's EBITDA.

John Roberts, CEO of AO.com, said: "AO World has made good progress in the first half, continuing to deliver on our long-term strategy. We have continued our mission to redefine retailing in our chosen categories, and we are winning market share in all those categories."

Roberts also noted how AO.com's brand awareness has increased following investment in marketing, helping to bring in new customers and improve repeat business. "Our customer proposition remains strong - our unbeatable prices, huge range and amazing service mean our customer satisfaction levels have remained exceptional and we will continue to focus on this.

"In Germany, our first international market, we are continuing to build scale and remain confident that our business model and customer proposition are working as well on Mainland Europe as they have in the UK. Our confidence means that we are now ready to move into the Netherlands, helping to leverage our German asset, and we continue to review other adjacent markets."

He said the second half of trading has started well, and with peak trading and Black Friday in this period, its plans for the year are on track.

"Looking ahead, it is clear that the momentum we built in the second quarter has set us up well for the full year. We remain as confident as ever that the market dynamics are moving in our favour as a pure-play digital operator in a market where customers continue to move rapidly online and our excellent service will only accelerate this. Against that backdrop we are well placed to deliver sustainable long-term growth," added Roberts.

Sophie McCarthy, consultant at Conlumino, commented: "While its profit performance is likely to remain inconsistent in the short-medium term as it continues to grow scale in the UK and expand its presence overseas, AO World is successfully attracting and retaining customers, which is fundamental to sustained growth. This week will see the long-anticipated Black Friday launch, with electrical retailers widely expected to drop prices significantly in order to win share of an event that some of the UK’s largest retailers, notably Asda, have branded as unsustainable for UK retail. AO World’s product mix means it is likely going to be participating in a heavy level of discounting which, if not planned properly within an overall margin-mixed offer, could provide further pressure on already squeezed profitability. We believe that AO World’s festive performance will be a good indicator of its long-term prospects and it should ensure that expansion abroad does not detract from focus on its UK business."