AO World says online sales continue to climb despite high street reopenings

Online electricals retailer AO World has said sales have remained strong in the face of coronavirus, even as restrictions on high street rivals have been lifted.

Demand for products “significantly increased” after governments in the UK and Germany introduced measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, the retailer said.

AO World said that initial data shows that the online retail market has continued to grow against last year, despite the Government easing some of these lockdown measures, such as the closure of non-essential retail stores.

The company said it is “very encouraged” by its current trajectory of revenue growth and profitability improvements for the current year.

However, the retailer also warned investors that a fall in consumer confidence could lead to a “delay in the purchase of big-ticket items”.

It came as the company revealed that revenue jumped by 16% to £1.05 billion in the year to March 31, while it swung to a pre-tax profit of £1.5 million for the period.

Total UK sales for the year increased by 20.3% to £901.6 million, the firm said.

John Roberts, founder and chief executive of AO, said: “I’m pleased that we have made substantial progress, closing the year in good shape after getting AO fit and focused on the future.

“Covid-19 has accelerated a shift in customer behaviour towards online shopping and we now need to cement that change.

“AO now has the opportunity to become a new habit that lasts – by delivering brilliant service for customers, in other words, turning those lockdown learnings into lifelong change.”

Nevertheless, shares in the company fell by 5% to 155.8p in early trading on Tuesday.

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