Boden reported a drop in profits for 2019, as it invested more in its online offerings and fulfilment capabilities, with a particular focus on the US.

Boden’s pre-tax profits fell 48.8% to £15.4m in the full year to December 31, 2019, as the retailer invested in its future.

Sales grew 1.4% to £387.9m in the same period, with US sales inching up 0.06% year on year to £144.8m, while sales for the UK and the rest of the world increased 2.31% to £243.1m.

Boden made major investments in its online functions in 2019 including new website infrastructure and a new front-end platform with improved functionality for customers, a more secure website and a new search tool.

The retailer also invested in improving its delivery capabilities to the US, as well as implementing a click-and-collect service in the UK in partnership with Waitrose.

Boden’s customer base now comprises 2 million people, up 2% compared with 2018.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, Boden recorded a “material reduction in sales”. The retailer said sales in March and April were particularly affected but it has seen some improvement since May.

Boden said it is working towards reducing its reliance on holiday, work and occasion clothing sales, and focusing on more casual offerings for the foreseeable future.

Chief operating officer Paul O’Leary said: “2019 was a year on significant investment for Boden with capital expenditure in our website infrastructure and improved customer service in the US. However, it was also a disappointing trading year.

“Covid-19 has had a significant effect on Boden’s trading. Our customers have been buying considerably less smart and holiday clothes for obvious reasons. In these challenging times, we have taken swift action to stabilise the business and ensure that we have a robust platform from which to build. Boden remains an iconic brand with strong international foundations and a loyal customer base. The cost-cutting over the last few months has been painful but necessary to ensure that we are in a strong position for the long term.”