Home » News » AIM News » Boohoo “Leading the fashion eCommerce market”
boohoo.com plc

Boohoo “Leading the fashion eCommerce market”

boohoo group (LON: BOO) have today published interim results for the six months ended 31st August 2019.

Highlights

Group

· Revenue £564.9 million, up 43% (43% CER(6))

· Strong revenue growth across all brands and geographies (UK: +35%; international: +55%). International now 44% of group revenue (2019: 41%)

· Robust balance sheet with net cash of £207.4 million (2019: £155.6 million) with healthy operating cash flow of £55.9 million (2019: £55.7 million) and free cash flow of £30.1 million (+22%)

· Acquisition of the MissPap, Karen Millen and Coast brands, complementary additions to the group’s scalable multi-brand platform

boohoo

· Revenue £281.0 million, up 34% with market share gains in all focus markets

· Gross margin 53.6%, up 20bps

· 8.4 million active customers(7), up 20% on prior year

PrettyLittleThing

· Revenue £237.6 million, up 41%

· Gross margin 55.3%, down 200 bps

· 5.7 million active customers, up 43%

· Outstanding market share and revenue growth in all markets

Nasty Gal

· Revenue £43.9 million, up 148%

· Gross margin 54.2%, down 480bps driven by refinements to the customer proposition

· 1.5 million active customers, up 112%

· Strong revenue growth across all markets, gathering momentum

Guidance

As announced on 5 September 2019, group revenue growth for the year to 29 February 2020 is expected to be 33% to 38%, with adjusted EBITDA margin for the financial year to remain at around 10%, reflecting anticipated investments across the financial year into the three brands acquired by the group in the first half year. We reiterate our medium term guidance to deliver revenue growth of at least 25% per annum and adjusted EBITDA margin of around 10%.

John Lyttle boohoo CEO, commented:

“It has been a fantastic first half of the year for the group. We have delivered significant market share gains across all of our key markets, and for the first time in our history, revenue has exceeded £1 billion in the last 12 months. We have delivered strong growth and operating leverage in our more established brands and will continue to invest in both our more established and newly-acquired brands. We enter the second half of the year well-placed and confident that our platform, which combines the latest fashion, great prices and excellent customer service, all underpinned by a well-invested infrastructure, will deliver further market share gains.”

Investor and Analyst Meeting

A meeting for analysts will be held at 9.30am today at the offices of Buchanan, 107 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN. boohoo group plc’s interim results 2020 are available at www.boohooplc.com.

A live audio webcast will be available at 9.30am via the following link:

https://webcasting.buchanan.uk.com/broadcast/5d541fada98d141c9d04c8ed

A replay will subsequently be available from 12 noon via the same link.

“Leading the fashion eCommerce market”

Founded in Manchester in 2006, boohoo is an inclusive and innovative brand targeting young, value-orientated customers. For 13 years, boohoo has been pushing boundaries to bring its customers up-to-date and inspirational fashion, 24/7. boohoo has grown rapidly in the UK and internationally, expanding its offering with range extensions into menswear, through boohooMAN.

In early 2017 the group extended its customer offering through the acquisitions of the vibrant fashion brand PrettyLittleThing, and free-thinking brand Nasty Gal. In March 2019 the group acquired the MissPap brand and in August 2019, the Karen Millen and Coast brands, all complementary to the group’s scalable multi-brand platform. United by a shared customer value proposition, our brands design, source, market and sell great quality clothes, shoes and accessories at unbeatable prices. These investment propositions have helped us grow from a single brand, into a major multi-brand online retailer, leading the fashion eCommerce market for 16 to 40-year-olds around the world. As at 31 August 2019, the boohoo group had around 13 million active customers across all its brands around the world.

Review of the business

Group overview

Group revenue for the half year increased by 43% (43% CER) on the first half of the previous year to £564.9 million (2019: £395.3 million). Revenue growth across all focus territories and brands was strong.

Adjusted EBITDA was £60.7 million (2019: £39.6 million), an increase of 53% on the first half of the previous year, with efficiency improvements, increased leverage of fixed overheads and effective marketing across the group leading to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 10.8% (2019: 10.0%). Profit before tax was £45.2 million (2019: £24.7 million), an increase of 83%. Adjusted diluted earnings per share was 2.91p, up 46% on the prior half year. Basic earnings per share rose to 2.55p, an increase of 80% (2019: 1.42p).

The group’s performance over the half year has been outstanding, with strong momentum across the business driving impressive revenue growth in all our brands and in all key focus territories. The group is increasing market share through highly effective marketing strategies, employing a mix of high profile celebrity campaigns, influencer associations, and digital and traditional marketing initiatives. Our scalable, multi-brand platform has enabled us to take on three additional women’s brands – MissPap, Karen Millen and Coast. Revenue from MissPap is starting to grow rapidly since go-live in April, whilst Karen Millen and Coast will commence trading online in October. Continuous improvement in the customer proposition is a top priority, with new apps, additional payment methods and improved delivery being deployed to ensure we keep pace with technological developments and remain best-in-class.

Cash generation was strong, with operating cash flow of £55.9 million (2019: £55.7 million) and free cash flow up 22% to £30.1 million. Capital expenditure was £6.4 million and £19.4 million was spent on the acquisition of the three new brands. Our net cash balance at the period end increased to £207.4 million (2019: £155.6 million).

Distribution centres

The group operates through two distribution centres: the Burnley facility services boohoo, boohooMAN, Nasty Gal and, in the second half year, will additionally serve MissPap, Karen Millen and Coast; and the Sheffield facility, which is managed by a third-party, services PrettyLittleThing. Automation at the Burnley warehouse went live in April 2019 and has been instrumental in improving efficiency and increasing throughput, enabling the facility to handle the rapid growth of the group and maintain high customer service levels. Both facilities give us the scale and capacity required as the group develops.

Technology

New apps in key markets for boohoo, boohooMAN and Nasty Gal were developed in-house and released in the first half year. These have been highly successful, with a high rate of adoption by users. Bringing the apps in-house has resulted in a far better user experience, with the added advantage of greater flexibility for further development and faster introductions of new features.

New payment methods have been introduced in several markets, giving customers more choice and flexibility, which has contributed to improvements in order size and frequency.

boohoo (including boohooMAN)

Performance

Revenue for the half year increased to £281.0 million, up 34% on the first half of the previous year, with growth in all our key focus markets.

Growth in the UK has continued in the first half year, whilst international growth has remained exceptionally strong, especially so in the USA and northern Europe. Gross margin increased by 20bps to 53.6%, driven by an improved product offering and refinement of the customer proposition.

Product

Core product lines are showing further improvement on the previous year, which together with the comprehensive size range offerings and new product introductions, are delivering growth and meeting consumer trends. In June we introduced our first dedicated recycled women’s clothing range, “for the future”, which is the start of our drive for a more sustainable future in fashion options. We have also extended our beauty range, offering a great collection of well-known brands alongside a boohoo branded range. boohooMAN is continuing to grow strongly as its product range widens and new collections and size ranges are added. With our constantly refreshed product offering, ensuring the very latest fashion trends are on our website within days, boohoo remains the most relevant brand for young consumers who want great fashion at unbeatable prices.

Marketing

Marketing efforts continued to focus on a successful mix of social media influencers, student activation, digital acquisition and retention, PR and above-the-line advertising in the form of TV and out-of-home advertising. Our investment in producing locally relevant content is also proving highly successful as we expand internationally.

Our global social media audience now includes over 6 million followers on Instagram and 3 million Facebook likes. This summer saw us working with a host of local brand ambassadors and the return of global ambassador, Jordyn Woods. All collections have featured an inspiring range of day-to-evening looks with that synonymous boohoo glamour.

boohooMAN collaborated with American rap artist Quavo, launching an inspirational collection for the spring/summer.

Customer interaction

Active customer numbers over the last 12 months increased by 20% to 8.4 million. Conversion rate to sale increased from 3.1% to 3.3% of sessions, when measured on website statistics alone. Order frequency increased 2%, with customers placing an order with us, on average, 2.11 times in 12 months, whilst the number of items per basket increased 9% to 3.30.

Of our seventeen country-specific websites, six are translated into local languages, with Swedish being added during the period and improving the customer experience and conversion, and we have plans for further translated sites. Our Instashop is a great way to shop for the latest celebrity and influencer looks, whilst the visual search facility on the app enables customers to locate matching products from a photograph. The addition of new payment methods in different countries ensures we keep abreast of customer preferences and optimise conversion. A virtual assistant helps answer customer queries and speeds up our response time to offer a more satisfying customer relationship experience.

PrettyLittleThing

Performance

PrettyLittleThing (“PLT”) achieved strong revenue growth of 41% over the first half of the previous year, reaching £237.6 million. Growth across all territories was strong, with the US and French markets performing exceptionally well. Gross margin has decreased to 55.3% (2019: 57.3%), as we optimise growth and refine the customer proposition.

Product

PLT brings the latest and most relevant celebrity looks at affordable prices to our customers, with a choice of over 23,500 styles and new items available daily. Our product range continued to expand during the first half year with further strong growth in the “shape” ranges including Petite, Curve and Plus. We have also continued to expand our accessories and beauty offering, partnering with major beauty brands to offer a one-stop shop for our customers. During the first half year we continued to bring the latest celebrity looks to customers, with a second collaboration with Ashley Graham and a swimwear collaboration with R&B artist Ashanti.

Marketing

We have continued to extend our social media reach by increasing the number of social media influencers, combined with celebrity campaigns and collaborations. These include Ashley Graham, Ashanti and the recently-announced collaboration with USA rapper Saweetie, all of which help the brand reach its target audience. We have 11 million Instagram followers, 2 million likes on Facebook and 0.3 million followers on Twitter. We grew our Tik Tok following from 20,000 to 310,000 and are the fastest growing fashion brand on the channel. We have presence on other social media channels and continue to develop our exposure to new and emerging platforms.

Customer interaction

We support eight country-specific websites and have plans for further foreign language sites, following the success of the French language site introduced in the previous financial year. For the UK market, we offer a wide range of free return options. We have expanded our customer payment options through the first half of the year as we seek to introduce the latest technologies and payment options to give our customers greater flexibility in their shopping experience.

Active customer numbers over the last 12 months increased by 43% to 5.7 million. Conversion rate to sale increased from 3.3% to 3.6% of sessions, when measured on website statistics alone. Order frequency increased 5% to 2.97 times in 12 months, whilst the number of items per basket increased 5% to 2.96.

Nasty Gal

Performance

Revenue growth across all territories has been exceptionally strong, giving an overall 148% increase to £43.9 million. Revenue growth in the USA, the largest single market for the brand, has continued at a significant pace. UK and International growth has been exceptional, with the brand gaining momentum through growing consumer awareness. Gross margin at 54.2% (2019: 59.0%) is in line with the re-alignment of the customer proposition.

Product

We have continued to build the product base in line with the expansion of the business, with the number of styles doubling to over 13,000. Product pricing remains higher than that of boohoo and PrettyLittleThing, whilst the product is differentiated in line with the brand’s heritage, including the Nasty Gal Vintage collection, which is part of the ongoing product strategy and representative of the brand’s DNA.

Marketing

The marketing strategy has focussed on building and extending the number of bloggers and influencers and staging key media events to engage customer interest and promote brand loyalty. This summer we launched an iconic collection edited by Emily Ratajkowski (EmRata) and teamed up with Claire Rose Cliteur with a beautiful collection of transitional season pieces.

On social media Nasty Gal has 3.8 million followers on Instagram, 1.3 million Facebook likes and 0.2 million followers on Twitter.

Customer interaction

Nasty Gal has seven country and regional websites and apps for the UK, US and the Australian markets. The new apps were brought in-house during the period, bringing a significant improvement in the customer experience and greater flexibility for us to enhance the app in short timescales.

Active customer numbers over the last 12 months increased by 112% to 1.5 million. Conversion rate to sale increased from 1.9% to 2.2% of sessions, when measured on website statistics alone. Order frequency increased 13% to 1.55 times in 12 months, whilst the number of items per basket increased 18% to 3.44.