Boohoo sales boost after summer of cycling shorts

image copyrightPrettyLittleThing
image captionCycling shorts (no bikes required) were at the top of this summer's fashion hit list

The return of cycling shorts to the fashion scene helped Boohoo Group report record sales and profits.

Boohoo boss Carol Kane said she could not believe cycling shorts became this summer's "biggest fashion trend".

"I wore them in 1992," she told investors.

The owner of PrettyLittleThing and Nastygal fashion labels reported a 50% jump in sales to £395.3m and a 22% rise in pre-tax profits to £24.7m, for the six months to 31 August.

"This summer we saw the return of the 90s cycling short - I was hoping this was a trend that would never re-emerge, " Ms Kane told investors.

The shorts, which have enjoyed a come-back thanks to the likes of Kim Kardashian, are sold from just £5 across the fast-fashion platforms.

Boohoo's social media has been growing too, helped by a host of celebrity collaborations and Insta-friendly brand ambassadors.

It now has 6.3 million followers on Instagram, a 200% rise in the last 12 months, 1.4 million followers on Facebook, up 40%, and 200,000 followers on Twitter.

Ms Kane said actress Zendaya and body positivity model Ashley Graham's huge Instagram followings were a big factor in the retailer's decision to launch collections with the pair.

"It was a really good fit for us," she said, adding that marketing campaigns and social media activity had helped Boohoo's performance in the first half.

"This performance has been the strongest in the group's history, I'm very proud to say this," she said.

Sales for PrettyLittleThing rose 132% to £168.6m, while NastyGal grew by 111% in £17.7m.

Bohoo Group raised its forecast for revenue growth this year, expecting sales growth of between 38% and 43%, up from its previous range of 35% to 40%.

A poach from Primark

Last week, it was announced that Boohoo had poached Primark's chief operating officer John Lyttle to be its new chief executive.

Existing joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane will take on new roles from March 2019.

Mr Kamani will become group executive chairman of the company, while Ms Kane will become group co-founder and executive director.

Both Ms Kane and Mr Kamani reiterated to investors that they were "not going anywhere", and would be working closely with Mr Lyttle when he came on board.

"Our group results for the first half year show yet another strong performance, delivering record sales and profits. All of our brands performed extremely well across all territories as we continue to gain market share," said Boohoo's joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, in a statement.

Boohoo's shares jumped 9% on the news.

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