AO remains upbeat as it swings to full year loss
Online appliance retailer AO has posted a full year loss after what its founder described as a turbulent time for retail.
In the year to 31 March, group revenue was up 52% on two years ago but down 6% on a year-on-year basis.
Group EBITDA came in a £8.5 million compared to the previous year’s £64.4 million after the company was impacted by increased staff costs due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more spending on marketing and logistics.
Meanwhile AO posted a statutory pre-tax loss of £37 million compared to a profit of £20 million in the prior year.
AO founder and chief executive John Roberts said: “AO was founded on the belief that online is a better way to buy electricals. That belief is as strong as ever, even – and especially – as we go through one of the most challenging operating environments we’ve weathered as a company. The past 12 months has been a turbulent time for business and for retail in particular, and AO hasn’t been immune to those effects.”
Giving an update on first quarter trading, AO said this was broadly in line with expectations. It anticipates group adjusted EBITDA for the full year to be in the range of £20 million to £30 million with a usual weighting towards the second half of the year.
Roberts said the new financial year marks a period of realignment for the business as it executes a strategic pivot to focus on cash and profit generation. He added: “Looking ahead, we certainly have more volatility to navigate, but the core fundamentals of our business remain strong.”
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