Boden chief executive Julian Granville has warned that its customers are being “squeezed”, proving that the middle classes are not immune to the tough climate.
He said Boden has seen a “notable” increase of bargain hunters, with more shoppers buying on discount. “It’s a challenging time for all retailers and profitability is under pressure,” he said.
Granville said the etailer, which counts Prime Minister David Cameron as one of its customers, had not upped its level of promotions but had seen a greater uptake of discounted products from its shoppers.
However, Boden reported a strong set of results for the past calendar year, and the first half of this year.
Pre-tax profits were up 13% to £32.5m in the calendar year 2010, with sales up 15% to £232.2m. It grew its active customer numbers by 11% in the year to 1.27 million.
In the first half of this year, Boden’s like-for-likes were up 5%.
Boden will expand its internet-only lines in the forthcoming year said Granville, after successful trials in womenswear, maternity, workwear and Limited Editions.
Granville said: “The successful launch of internet-only styles without the support of catalogue mailings is particularly promising and will help drive profitability in the longer term.”
The home shopping group is also eyeing further international expansion and will launch in France this autumn.
Granville said it would launch a single website across the Eurozone late next year, but would evaluate country-specific interest in its brand before investing in targeted marketing campaigns.
The etailer now operates in Germany, Austria, and the US, which in total account for just under half of its group turnover.
In Germany and Austria sales were up 61% in its last financial year. Granville expects overseas sales to become the bulk of its turnover over the next financial year.