Online electricals retailer AO World gained over 2 million new customers during the pandemic, and its chief executive predicts further growth even as competitors reopen shops from lockdown.
The FTSE 250 company, which sells goods such as washing machines, fridges and laptops online, is among firms to have seen huge demand over the last year as high street retailers had to close at various points for lockdown.
Revenue in the year to March 31 increased 63% to nearly £1.7 billion and underlying profits are expected to be in the range of £63 million to £72 million. That is up from £19.6 million a year earlier and in line with what analysts had pencilled in.
The firm invested in more staff, vans and warehouse space during the period to cope with the extra demand.
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The lockdown ‘winner’ could from this week start to see any potential impacts from shoppers having more choice of where to go, after restrictions eased on April 12 and non essential retailers were allowed to reopen.
But John Roberts, AO World’s founder and chief executive, said: “I expect that we will continue to be a double-digit growth business in the year ahead, even now as we lap the tough comparatives from last year with physical stores open.”
He told the Evening Standard he predicted the post-pandemic growth because he thinks that “when people find a better way to shop, they will keep shopping that way” and tell other people about it.
AO World, which floated at 285p per share in 2014, has seen a slight increase in warranty plan cancellations, as some customers reviewed their finances during the pandemic.
The shares increased 6.8p to 324.4p in early trading.
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