AO, formerly known as Appliances Online, is an online-only retailer operating in the UK and Germany. Operations for its Dutch arm ended in 2019. The company was founded in 2000 by John Roberts and the UK head office is located in Bolton, Greater Manchester. It specialises in household appliances and electricals, but has expanded its offer to include small appliances, TVs, computing, smartphones and even gardening products. It acquired Mobile Phones Direct in December 2018 to access the contract and SIM-only markets and launched its own AO Mobile operation in August 2019. AO’s new strategy is to develop an ecosystem of products and services, which will eventually include product rentals, mobile phone contracts, account-based finance, recycling, B2B and third-party logistics alongside its core retail operation. On Black Friday 2019, AO unveiled its plastic plant, announcing its ambition to use its recycling capabilities to recycle materials from old fridges to make new ones.

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