June 12, 2019 / 7:19 AM / 3 months ago

Britain's Boohoo bucks subdued retail market with stellar sales

LONDON (Reuters) - British online fashion group Boohoo bucked a tough retail market with robust sales growth in its latest quarter as its offer of cheap clothing, delivered quickly, chimed with shoppers.

FILE PHOTO: A shopper walks pass advertising billboards for Boohoo and for 'Pretty Little Things', a Boohoo brand, at Canary Wharf DLR station in central London, Britain, September 17, 2018. REUTERS/James Akena

Boohoo, which sells own-brand clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products, said on Wednesday group revenue rose 39% to 254.3 million pounds ($323.5 million) in the three months to May 31, its fiscal first quarter.

The group achieved strong revenue growth across all geographies with UK sales up 27% and international up 56%. Its gross margin was 55%.

Founded just 14 years ago in Manchester, northern England, Boohoo has expanded quickly, listing its shares in 2014 and buying the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands in 2017. The firm is tapping-in to a generation of younger consumers who shop on their mobile phones and share fashion tips through social media.

The group kept its guidance for the full 2019-20 year - revenue growth of 25% to 30% with a core (adjusted EBITDA) profit margin of around 10%.

Shares in Boohoo, up 42% so far this year, closed Tuesday at 230.1 pence, valuing the business at 2.67 billion pounds.

While Boohoo is thriving, the wider sector is struggling.

Last week an industry survey said British shoppers cut back on their spending in May by the most in more than 20 years, raising questions about how long consumers can keep on cushioning the economy from the impact of Brexit.

On Tuesday shares in fashion retailer Ted Baker lost more than a quarter of their value after warning on profit.

And while Boohoo is expanding rapidly peer Philip Green’s Topshop-to-Dorothy Perkins Arcadia fashion group is fighting for its survival.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle

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