Online & mail order fashion retailer Boden has seen pre-tax profit plummet 45 per cent to £17.9 million in its full year, according to results published today.
Citing increased cotton prices and heavy discounting across the sector, the e-tailer said that short-term gross margins had been hit as it “did not pass these increases onto customers” and reported that EBITDA fell 42 per cent to £19.9 million for the year to December 31st 2011.
For the first time, international sales outperformed those in the UK, with group like-for-like sales rising 10 per cent in the first half, driven by a strong performance across its German operations which saw sales jump 43 per cent in H1.
Total group sales increased by six per cent to £245.9 million over the year with German and US sales up 21 per cent and nine per cent respectively.
By the year end, Boden had increased its customer base by eight per cent on the previous year with more than 1.3 million active customers now using the site. As its digital offering continues to expand, online sales now account for 80 per cent of the business with 15 per cent of all sales now taken via its iPad app.
At the end of the year, the e-tailer had 64,000 Facebook fans which has since increased to 125,000 fans and the group has launched a new pan-European website to facilitate its entry into European markets.
In it’s statement, the e-tailer conceded that the core UK market remains challenging though noted that sales remain ahead of last year and the group said that, while the outlook remains subdued, management is confident of long-term growth opportunities.
Boden CEO Julian Granville believes that, despite disappointing results in the UK, the group’s increasing global reach is helping to strengthen its position.
He commented: “Boden’s distinct British appeal continues to attract a wide global audience with international sales accelerating in 2012 and now accounting for more than 50 per cent of the business.
“We have had an encouraging start to the year and Womenswear is trading well across the Group. We have a strong Autumn/Winter range in place to maintain momentum in the second half.”