In the wake of its capital increase, that raised £197.7 million (€220.8m-$248.0m) in gross proceeds on May 15, the U.K. online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought two brands, Oasis and Warehouse, for £5.25 million (€5.9m-$6.6m) from Hilco Capital. The two brands will be integrated onto Boohoo’s platform, benefiting from the company’s infrastructure and supply chain. In the financial year ended in February, the two brands generated direct online revenues of £46.8 million (€52.3m-$58.7m).
Oasis and Warehouse were two British fashion chains that closed down, with the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs, in April after the administrators who had been placed to save them threw in the towel and sold the brands to the restructuring firm Hilco. When it launched its capital increase, Boohoo announced that it was building up a war chest to take advantage of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on an already battered British retailing industry. Prior to the pandemic, the sector had been weakened by rising rents and taxes as well as the competition from e-commerce.
The two brands add to Boohoo’s stable of brands, Prettylittlething, Nasty Gal, MissPap, Karen Millen and Coast. On May 28, Boohoo took full control of Prettylittlething by buying the remaining 34 percent it did not own. The company continues to evaluate acquisition opportunities.
Karen Millen and Coast, like Oasis and Warehouse, used to be high street retailers throughout the U.K. and about 10 years ago were all part of the Aurora Fashions group.
In the first quarter ended on May 31, Boohoo posted sales of £367.8 million (€410.8m-$461.5m), up by 45 percent both on a reported and constant-currency basis. Sales rose by 30 percent to £183.0 million in the U.K., by 66 percent to £63.4 million in the rest of Europe, by 79 percent to £92.0 million in the U.S. and by 22 percent to £29.4 million in the rest of the world.
From mid-March sales fell sharply due to the impact of the pandemic but improved throughout April and posted a “robust” performance in May. Sales were underpinned by loungewear and athleisure as customers adapted to a stay at home lifestyle. During the quarter the gross margin improved by 0.60 percentage points year-on-year to 55.6 percent.
For the financial year ending on Feb. 28, 2021, Booho expects to deliver “another year of strong profitable growth, and ahead of market expectations.” It anticipates revenue growth of approximately 25 percent with an adjusted Ebitda margin of 9.5 to 10 percent. The guidance reflects expectations of ongoing consumer uncertainty, probable intense promotional activity, as well as continued near-term transport inflation for some overseas markets. Capital expenditure is forecast at £60 million to £80 million.
In the medium term, it still anticipates average annual sales of growth 25 percent and a 10 percent adjusted Ebitda margin.