AO has reported a full-year loss in its delayed results as boss John Roberts says the etailer fights “through one of the most challenging operating environments we’ve weathered as a company”.

AO boss John Roberts

AO chief executive John Roberts says there is “more volatility to navigate” ahead

AO has recorded a pre-tax loss of £37m in the year to March 31, 2022, in comparison with a pre-tax profit of £20m the previous year.

The online retailer reported group adjusted EBITDA of £8.5m during the financial period, down 87% year on year, which it attributed to increased staff costs added during the Covid pandemic, as well as increased marketing and logistics costs.

AO’s group revenue of £1.5bn was down 6% year on year, but up 52% on a two-year basis. The etailer’s UK revenue fell 5% year on year to £1.4bn, up 52% in two-year terms.

AO’s German business, which it confirmed it would close post-year-end, registered a 16% fall in sales year on year to £189m, up 51% in two-year terms.

The electricals specialist said it expected sales for its current financial year to be down year on year, in the range of £1bn to £1.25bn, but said it expected adjusted EBITDA to rise to between £20m and £30m.

AO said the £40m cash raise it launched in July prompted by its insurance covering being cut provided it with sufficient “flexibility to capitalise on significant long-term growth opportunities in the UK”.

Founder and chief executive John Roberts said AO was going “through one of the most challenging operating environments we’ve weathered as a company”.

“The past 12 months have been a turbulent time for business and for retail in particular, and AO hasn’t been immune to those effects,” he added.

“Looking ahead, we certainly have more volatility to navigate, but the core fundamentals of our business remain strong. We entered the new financial year with a period of strategic realignment, and a focus on cash and profit generation.”

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