Home furnishings etailer Amara narrowed its losses last year as it made strides to conquer new territories overseas, Retail Week can reveal.

The pureplay, which hired House of Fraser’s Maddie Melson as chief customer officer earlier this year, said pre-tax losses shrank from £1.8m in 2015 to £1.5m last year.

Sales rocketed 78% to £15.5m in the year to December 31, 2016, driven it said by increased customer numbers, particularly in its overseas markets, and the introduction of new brands and products.

The etailer’s EBITDA losses narrowed to £1.2m, compared with £1.7m in 2015, after accounting for an increase in staff numbers from 57 to 75 employees.

Exploiting opportunity for growth

Melson said: “Amara is in a privileged position to have a very experienced board and a hugely passionate team, who’ve managed to exploit opportunities for growth in several areas.”

During the period, Amara redesigned and modernised its interface, launched an own-label collection – A by Amara – and expanded into international territories, which Melson described as a “big success story”.

Amara currently has transactional websites in nine countries including the US, Canada, Australia and France

The etailer also came 45th in The Times 100 Best Small Companies To Work For.

Tough trading conditions

During its current financial year, Amara is undertaking some large projects to ensure its core infrastructure can scale to meet its “ambitious growth plans”.

Melson said: “As most of retail has seen, a number of factors have contributed to tough trading conditions in the UK and parts of Europe. We’ve been very happy with our results as they’ve delivered on our strategy to drive our margin performance and average order values.”