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Net-a-Porter racks up record sales results

Net-a-Porter, the upmarket fashion etailer, has defied the economic slowdown by increasing its sales by a massive 48% to £55.2 million for the year ended February 2, while pre-tax profits leapt by 42% to £3m.

Net-a-Porter founder and chairman Natalie Massenet said that last year’s net sales were equivalent to the total sales achieved between the year 2000 through to 2005 plus the first six months of sales in 2006, demonstrating the phenomenal rate of growth that Net-a-Porter has achieved since it was founded eight years ago.

Massenet said that growth had come from new and existing customers from all of its key markets. Year-on-year growth in the UK was 36% and in the Middle East it was 38%, while the rest of Europe saw an uplift of 41%. Australia and the Far East recorded 62% growth, and the US saw the strongest increase at 69%. Massenet said Net-a-Porter would continue to develop internationally.

The phenomenal rate of growth demonstrates the increasing importance of online retailing, despite the economic slowdown. Consultancy Verdict Research estimated that online retail sales would rocket by 32% in 2008 against bricks and mortar retail sales, which it expects will see growth of just 1.2% this year.

Net-a-Porter said in its accounts which were filed at Companies House last week: “Trading this year is materially higher than the same period last year; there is no question that the uncertainties in the world financial markets are causing our customer base to exercise caution in their discretionary spend. However, some steps we have planned for are now coming to fruition and these will strengthen our ability to withstand a possible downturn.”

The statement added: “We are confident that our website and our customer service are sufficiently differentiated to enable us to continue to grow.”

Net-a-Porter said it now had about 5,000 customers shopping with it each month, compared with an average of 3,500 the previous year.

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