AO warns of “poor availability” due to HGV driver shortage

// AO warns of poor availability of some products and slashes its sales outlook
// The company warned that full-year sales could fall 5% year on year

AO has reported a loss due to the ongoing supply chain disruption and the HGV driver shortage.

The online electricals retailer has slashed its full-year profit guidance and warned of “poor availability in certain categories”.

Such challenges would also lead to “significantly softer” trading during the crucial Black Friday and Christmas period.

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The company warned that full-year sales could fall by five per cent year on year and would remain flat at best.

Meanwhile, EBITDA would come in at between £10 million and £20 million.

AO had previously forecast EBITDA of £35 million to £50 million.

AO said it was facing “meaningful supply chain challenges”, with product shortages impacting “newer products where we have less scale, experience and leverage”.

It added that consumer price inflation, and increased costs of shipping and raw materials “remain challenging uncertainties” going into the crucial Black Friday and Christmas trading period.

“Our results over this period have inevitably been affected by the constraints and uncertainty seen across our industry,” AO founder and chief executive John Roberts said.

“We’ve materially cemented the progress of last year, with a step-change in scale and consumer behaviour – and the fundamentals of the business are in place for sustained growth.

“We’re seeing more customers making repeat purchases more frequently across categories. Once they experience the AO Way, they keep coming back.

“Our outstanding operational capabilities are also being recognised by more and more companies who are now outsourcing their delivery services to us.

“We’re working hard to solve some of the current challenges that our industry is facing. We’ve recruited around 500 new drivers and are working closely with our manufacturer partners so that customers can get what they need.”

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