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“10 years of change in 10 months” helps AO to best ever quarter


Online electrical retailer AO World enjoyed its best ever trading period in the run-up to Christmas, with sales booming in the UK and Germany.

In a financial update this morning, the Bolton-based company reported that revenue for the three months to December 31st 2020 had grown by 67.2% to £457.3m, with sales in Germany up 77.4% to 73.6m euros.

AO said there had been a “significant increase” in demand for its products and services since the start of the pandemic, and said it was looking forward to the last quarter “with confidence as the structural shift to online is cemented in consumers’ minds”.

“We’ve seen 10 years of change in 10 months, and experienced our strongest ever peak trading period,” said founder and chief executive John Roberts.

“We backed ourselves by investing early in warehouses, vehicles, stock and people. This not only set us up to satisfy customer demand for electricals for the current crisis but also for the longer term, as the structural shift to online becomes a permanent feature of the market in the UK and Germany.”

AO said it continues to invest in its infrastructure including additional staff in warehouses, vehicles and drivers, having hired 1,500 people in 2020.

However, AO warned that its costs have also risen sharply as it “negotiates some of the operational challenges of working in a Covid-compliant environment”.

With analysts predicting that profits would be hit as a result, shares in the retailer – which have quadrupled over the last year – were down by around 5% today.

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