AO revenue £368m, but investment leads to loss

Bolton-based online electrical retailer AO World said its revenue rose 13.3% to £368 million in the six months ended September 30, 2017.

However, group operating loss was £12 million compared to a £2.8 million loss in the same period last year “following increased UK brand expenditure and, in line with strategy, investment in Europe.”

In its outlook for the rest of the year, AO World said: “The improved sales momentum we saw in the second quarter against the first has continued into the second half of the year as we head towards our peak sales period. 

“Whilst we continue to anticipate uncertainty in the macro-economic environment, we remain focussed on delivering value for all our stakeholders …

“Our outlook for the full year remains within the range of market expectations for adjusted EBITDA towards the lower end, reflecting the continuing momentum in our UK business despite challenging market conditions and the adverse impact of foreign exchange rates on the translation of our European operations’ reported performance.”

AO chief executive officer Steve Caunce said: “AO has made a good start to the year …

“We are broadly on track with our plans for the year as a whole — with the positive impact of improving sales growth through the first half of the year combined with the first half biased phasing of our marketing spend — in spite of the challenging UK market conditions.

“Our European operations continue to perform in line with the plan we’ve previously set out notwithstanding the adverse impact of foreign exchange rates on our reported performance. 

“The AO culture is firmly embedding in Germany and The Netherlands and our foundations for growth are fully established. 

“We are also building a number of exciting new vertically integrated capabilities under the AO banner, including our state-of-the-art recycling facility in Telford.

“This is another great example of how we have applied the AO Way to an underinvested section of the market and it should make an exciting contribution to the business in the future.

“As AO continues to become the destination for consumer electronics for more and more people, we will continue to evolve our brand strategy, underpinned by our commitment to make things easy for our customers because we simply care more.

“While we are mindful of macro-economic factors we remain confident that we are on track with our plans to be the best electrical retailer in Europe.”