Even Brexit can't put a dampener on the sex toy industry

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Profits at sex toy retailer Lovehoney have continued to shoot up, with its owners insisting Brexit has not put Britons off having fun in the bedroom.

The Bath-based online firm saw pre-tax profit rise 68% to £5.1 million in the year to March, with turnover growing 29% to £58 million - helped by a surge in sales of its Fifty Shades of Grey range.

On the group's performance since the EU referendum, co-owner Richard Longhurst said "people were having sex before Brexit and people are having sex after Brexit". Right, now try saying that three times fast.

Richard and Neal
Co-owners Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford (Lovehoney)

He added: "Brexit hasn't put people off having sex. After the result, some people might need cheering up and others might be celebrating.

"The only effect we have seen is in currency, but having international operations is a natural hedge. We feel confident that the business will continue to thrive."

About 80% of the company's sales are in the UK, but growth has been particularly vigorous in the US and Australia. Longhurst added that the company can "keep it up" if the British economy deteriorates.

Lovehoney
The company is thriving despite Brexit business woes (Lovehoney)

"During the financial crisis in 2008, sales continued to grow. When budgets are tight, people still want to enjoy themselves - and for £20 or £30, with one of our products, they can have many nights of fun," he said.

The firm said that the launch of its Fifty Shades range in July 2015 prompted an international surge in sales for primarily first-time buyers of sex toys and accessories.

Next year, Lovehoney will launch two new product ranges to coincide with the release of the Fifty Shades Darker film on Valentine's Day 2017.

In May, Lovehoney received the Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade for outstanding growth in overseas sales.