Boohoo annual sales and profit soar as new era begins

Online fashion retailer Boohoo has reported a significant increase in group revenue and profit for the 12 months to 28 February 2019.

The business, which operates Boohoo.comPrettyLittleThing (PLT) and Nasty Gal, said pre-tax profit was up by 38% to £59.9 million on the back of 48% revenue growth to £856.9 million.

The eponymous brand, including the smaller Boohoo Man website, reported a revenue hike of 16% to £434.6 million, while PLT experienced a 107% leap in revenue to £374.4 million. Nasty Gal revenue was £47.9 million – an increase of 96% year on year.

CEO John Lyttle, who recently took on the leadership role from founders Carol Kane and Mahmud Kamani, said “the group's disruptive and proven business model” had delivered “yet another excellent set of financial and operational results”.

“In my short time within the business, I am delighted to have been able to meet a number of hugely talented people and have already been able to see many parts of the business,” he added.

“This has confirmed my belief and optimism that the group's investments into its brands and infrastructure have allowed it to develop a scalable multi-brand platform that is well-positioned to disrupt, gain market share and capitalise on what is a truly global opportunity.”

Operational highlights for the year included the extension and fit-out of the group’s Burnley distribution centre (DC), which implemented various automated processes earlier this month. Meanwhile, PLT's DC was recently relocated to a larger facility in Sheffield.

From a technology perspective, today’s full-year statement indicated that’s cut-off time for next-day delivery in the UK is now 11pm and SMS messaging for delivery status has been introduced. The retailer is also trialling artificial intelligence in customer contact response.

On UK customers can now use social logins, while visual search was introduced to the website earlier in the reporting period.

The groups also said “investment in technology is paramount to PLT's success and we have a programme of work across our services and customer-facing applications”. It added that the separation of systems via its micro-service architecture has allowed its platform to better deal with the business's pace of change and growth in traffic.

Key technology highlights for the year just passed at PLT included the introduction of a new automated chatbot which the group said provides customers with instant assistance on a number of contact categories.