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Sharp business focus buoys Boohoo Group's bottom line

Keely Stocker

In a flurry of mixed Christmas trading results Boohoo Group has smashed through the mediocrity with another stellar performance.

Group revenue was up 44% in the four months to 31 December, as PrettyLittleThing (PLT) almost doubled its revenue by 95% to £144.2m.

Launching in 2012, PLT has had an exceptional journey to get where it is today. Unlike others in the ecommerce market, it has become more than just a transactional website – you only have to look at social media to see the engagement it has with its customers. Product adorned with the PLT logo, often in own-brand pink, is worn by influencers and celebrities worldwide. It has captured its audience, it continues to innovate with product collaborations, and most recently launched a unisex range. It is current, it is daring, and it is a brand.

But it is not just PLT that continues to drive revenues – sales at Boohoo were up 15% and Nasty Gal up 74%. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that, despite heavy discounting during the time period, margins were not dented.

Boohoo Group Founders Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane (named Fashion Leaders of the Year at the 2018 Drapers Awards), are smart operators. Before launching Boohoo in 2006, they worked together at Pinstripe, a fashion supplier set up by Kamani’s father selling clothing to retailers such as H&M, Topshop and Asos. This background no doubt influences how they work today – strategic buying and smart supply chain management ensure margins are retained. The group has not tried to grow too rapidly, and instead secured its position in the UK before tackling global expansion.

That is not to say the business has not been without its challenges. When I interviewed Kane back in 2015, it had issued a profit warning on its full-year performance. More recently, it has been given warnings from the Advertising Standards Agency for advertising a fake fur product that contained real fur and “misleading” promotions, which Boohoo said was not intentional.

However, despite these hiccups, Boohoo Group has remained on track and on target in an extremely challenging market. As Kamani and Kane transition into their new roles as group executive chairman and executive director from March, the business is in an incredibly strong position for Primark’s John Lyttle to join as CEO.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Wahid W

    Very nice work.
    We are also in fashion industry, a renowned garment manufacturer.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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