AO World revenue tops £1bn but shares fall on outlook

Bolton-based online electrical retailer AO World said on Tuesday its revenue for the year ended March 31, 2020, rose 15.9% to £1.04 billion — but its shares fell about 10% as it warned consumers may now delay buying big-ticket items amid economic uncertainty.

Statutory operating loss was reduced to £3.8 million from a £13 million loss in the previous year.

AO’s shares have soared more than 100% over the past year.

In its outlook for 2020-2021, AO World said: “Although around 70% of electrical purchases are replacement in nature, a fall in consumer confidence may lead to a delay in the purchase of big-ticket items. 

“There may also be a significant fall in GDP in both the UK and Germany and the level of UK housing transactions, to which our performance is in part linked, may also decline as a result of restrictions in the mortgage market. 

“There is also an additional level of uncertainty over a hard Brexit in December.

“Although it is difficult to predict with certainty, we believe this crisis has had a seismic impact on retail and that many shoppers will have been permanently converted to online shopping. 

“The forced migration to online has presented AO with an opportunity to impress a new customer demographic and convert them to the AO Way as they experience a better way of shopping for electrical products which should continue to drive sales growth through repeat and recommendation purchases.”