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AO invests £15m in stock ahead of Brexit

Home appliance internet retailer AO said it had increased its fast-moving inventory lines by £15 million worth of stock last year as part of Brexit contingency planning.

Reporting that earnings would be at the lower end of expectations for its 12-month financial period to end of March, AO said that the extra stock would allow the firm to continue to deliver its “market-leading” proposition to its customers.

The internet retailer also said it would take a £2.5m hit in its 2019 results from the management shake-up that followed founder John Roberts taking back control of the firm.

“I am delighted to once again have the privilege to lead the business and excited by the scale of value creation that lies ahead of us for the benefit of all stakeholders,” Roberts said.

“I look forward to updating more fully in early June on how we are accelerating our plans to grow while leveraging the infrastructure we have invested in.”

Earlier this week, Roberts announced that AO was testing a “disruptive” white-goods rentals proposition that would offer a more affordable option than some of the existing pay-to-rent deals currently on the market.

AO said UK revenue for 2019 was expected to have grown by almost 10% to about £748m, but about half of that was contributed by the mobile phones business it bought in December last year.

Group revenue is expected to be around £900m, an increase of about 13% year on year, including sales from Mobile Phones Direct.

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