• Full-year group loss of £10.6m
  • Group sales jump 25.7% to £599.2m
  • UK adjusted EBITDA of £17.2m, up from £16.5m
  • Appoints Card Factory chairman Geoff Cooper to replace Richard Rose

Ao.com’s full-year operating losses have widened as investment in Germany and costs from launching in the Netherlands took their toll. 

The electricals etailer, which is planning to launch into the computers market, said group losses in the year to March 31 were £10.6m, compared with £2.2m the prior year.

It blamed “investment and trading losses” in Germany and start-up costs in the Netherlands.

In the UK, adjusted EBITDA rose from £16.5m to £17.2m. However, margins were hit owing to “investment in marketing to increase brand awareness and investment in overheads to drive further margin growth”, the etailer said.

Group sales for the period jumped 25.7% to £599.2m. In the UK, Ao’s website sales soared 27.7% to £487.1m.

The etailer also revealed it has appointed Geoff Cooper as its new chairman, to replace Richard Rose. Cooper is chairman of Card Factory and a former Travis Perkins and Boots executive.

Ao.com boss John Roberts said: “We are growing the business as fast as we can safely; expanding in our chosen categories and countries, while keeping a tight grip on our culture. Improving our brand awareness has been a key focus over the last year and this has increased significantly following successful investment in marketing.”

On its launch into selling computers, Roberts later told Retail Week he regarded the category as a “bowl of spaghetti”. He added: “You can’t navigate your way round buying a laptop on Amazon, it’s comical. We want to put our Ao pixie dust into the customer journey.”

Roberts also admitted that brand awareness remains “the single biggest weakness” for the business. However he said this represented an “amazing opportunity”, as it has grown brand awareness from around 6% to 25% in a “relatively short space of time”.