AO World eyes European expansion after being buoyed by pandemic

AO World sets sights on European expansion
AO World has plans to more than double under ambitious 5-year goals, with aims to roll out to France, Italy & Spain and hit sales of over £4bn.
// AO World reports full year pre-tax profits of £20.2m, up from £600,000 the previous year
// Revenues jump 62% to £1.7bn
// AO World now has plans to expand further across Europe

AO World has revealed plans to expand further across Europe as it posted a surge in annual profits thanks to the accelerated shift to online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive John Roberts unveiled plans to more than double the size of the online electricals retailer under ambitious five-year goals, with aims to roll out to France, Italy and Spain and hit sales of over £4 billion.

It comes after the group, which already has operations across the UK and Germany, reported pre-tax profits of £20.2 million for the year to March 31, up from £600,000 the previous year as revenues jumped 62 per cent to £1.7 billion.


AO World said sales growth had eased slightly since the year-end as it laps strong trading from a year earlier, but added the new financial year had started well and it remains “prudently optimistic” of delivering double-digit growth again this year.

Roberts said shoppers would not go back to their old ways following the switch to online seen over the past year as customers snapped up electricals over the internet and rushed to stock up for home schooling and remote working.

“This is going to stick – when customers find a better way to do something, they rarely go back,” he told the PA news agency.

“(The pandemic) has turbo-charged what’s been happening over the past 20 years.”

Rpberts said AO World has attracted more than two million new customers over the past year, adding a “tonne of fuel to the fire”.

The retailer expanded into Germany in October 2014 and said the business broke even in its third quarter.

It pledged to ramp up investment with another £30 million earmarked for digital and marketing content and £30 million in upgrading its support systems as it looks to expand its European footprint.

“The investments we are making this year underpin those ambitions and ensure that our businesses are fit for continued growth, with a view to more than doubling the size of the Group in that time period,” AO World said.

with PA Wires

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