The Boohoo group – which also owns brands including PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal; has continued to see its profit and sales surge during the coronavirus pandemic. The online retailer started to push leisurewear and pajamas at the front of its websites during lockdown.
The company’s share price dipped along with the rest of the stock market post-lockdown, but it’s one of the only FTSE companies to have recovered well since. In fact the company is now in a better position than it was throughout the previous fiscal year. The full year results for the group showed sales up 44%.
The results are a marked contrast to retail rival Primark, which recently announced it would furlough 68,000 workers across Europe as sales plummeted. Retailer Laura Ashley also announced at the end of March 2020 that the company would cut 268 jobs after initially announcing it would make up to 721 redundancies when the retailer slid into administration.
Fast fashion retailer Boohoo routinely launches hundreds of new styles on its website. Whilst the company was able to report strong growth in demand for its £6 ($8) dresses and £10 ($13) jeans, it is however questionable how long the retailer can continue growing with such heavy discounting. According to Boohoo selling dresses for as low as £5 ($6) is a loss leader. Whilst the company reportedly makes no profit on these items, it is a marketing tool designed to drive visitors to the website.
Recently, the retailer has also come under fire for launching fashion face masks which are not fit for protection during the pandemic. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) said they were ‘scandalous’ and the company has also received public backlash.
Moreover, in 2019 Boohoo was named as one of the least sustainable fashion brands in the UK in a report published by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).
Societal awareness has shifted to more eco-friendly, sustainable brands. This shift in public opinion is putting those that refuse to adapt in danger of going out of business altogether. This is an area Boohoo needs to assess in a bid to maintain its position and consumer base.