Pureplay electricals specialist AO.com has reported a profit in the first half of the financial year off the back of “strong” revenue growth and greater customer demand.

For the six months to September 30, AO.com said group profit before tax increased to £18m having posted a loss of £5.9m in the same period last year. 

Total sales for the period soared 53% to £717m, while group adjusted EBITDA rose to £28.8m at a 4% margin.

The retailer’s German business saw sales boom 85% to £101m, and AO said its international arm was “on track” to be profitable by the 2022 financial year. 

AO was also able to reduce its net debt position by 75% to £21m, and generated £78m in cash.

The retailer said the strong trading it enjoyed in the first quarter, when its bricks-and-mortar competitors were forced to close stores, continued into the second quarter. 

As a result, AO said “the electricals market has increasingly moved online during the past six months” and moving forward it would look to cement this change. 

Founder and chief executive John Roberts said: “This has been a half year like no other. I believe our market has changed as a result, forever. Online is now the dominant retail channel for customers and manufacturers alike and I am delighted by how our AOers have risen to the challenge of this structural shift in behaviour.

“We have grown share across all categories and the results we’re announcing today give huge confidence that our business is well set for the future to cement the changes. Our growth rates have increased from Q2 to Q3 as we unlock capacity constraints.

“We have taken huge strides forward on our commitment to fix all the fundamentals of our European business and we now have a profitable platform from which to accelerate our growth in Germany and beyond.

“I would like to thank all AOers and all our trading partners for making such structural change possible in such a short period of time. It has been an incredible team effort to serve customers, existing and new, in their moments of need that I believe they will repay us with loyal custom for years to come.

“Now really is our time and we are investing to win and cement the change.”