Online retailer MySale puts itself up for sale

Struggling online fashion retailer MySale – previously backed by Mike Ashley and Sir Philip Green – has put itself up for sale, the company said.

Bosses will also undertake a “strategic review” to reduce debts and try to find a buyer – with no suitors yet to be identified.

MySale’s value has plummeted since its joined the junior AIM stock market in 2014 – going from being worth £340 million to less than £10 million.

In a major retrenchment, the company said it was focusing on an “Australia and New Zealand First” strategy – selling off its US and UK divisions, including website to discount retailer Brandalley.

Sales have also been falling due to new tax changes in Australia – its biggest market – and the company admitted its offering was not up to scratch. Sales and profits are expected to fall, it added.

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley

In a statement, the company said: “The group has continued to experience challenging trading conditions in Australia, its largest market, primarily due to the market disruption caused by changes to GST regulation introduced in July 2018, exacerbated by the group’s product mix, international cost base and inventory location.

“This has had and continues to have a negative impact on the group’s financial performance, with declines in revenue, gross profit and gross margin.”

Shares have been suspended and the company is now in an official takeover period.

Russ Mould, AJ Bell investment director, said: “Flash sales are time-limited sales events in which fashion, beauty and homeware products are offered to a closed member base. Customers get access to leading brands at low prices, while firms have an avenue to dispose of excess stock at a discount.

“This seems like it could be a winning proposition, but it is one on which MySale has failed to execute.”

Earlier this year, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct sold its 4.8% stake after MySale disposed of its UK division. Sir Philip Green had a 25% stake in the business.

Both had hoped to cash in on the rise and rise in online shopping, having previously opted to focus on high street sales over the internet.

Mr Mould added: “Given Mike Ashley’s appetite to own even the most beaten-up retail vehicles – think Debenhams or House of Fraser – the fact the Sports Direct owner put his holding on the scrapheap last month should have been a clear warning sign that MySale was in trouble.”