AO World lifted by sales surge

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APPLIANCES RETAILER AO World emerged as one of the retail winners over Christmas after sales jumped by more than a third in the final three months of 2014.

The Bolton-based online business, which sells washing machines and fridges, said its online sales leapt by 38 per cent in the quarter to the end of December.

It said that sales of audio visual goods such as TVs, introduced in May, performed well. The company also saw a large spike in volumes on Black Friday, but was able to maintain response times and service levels.

The firm, which was launched in 2000 by founder and chief executive John Roberts, floated on the stock market last year and launched in Germany in October, six months ahead of expectations. Shares rose by almost 8 per cent.

It said the latest sales figures did not include its German operation but added that “sales are building well, giving us confidence to explore wider marketing opportunities to drive growth.”

Mr Roberts said: “AO World has made continued progress through the third quarter, delivering further strong trading in the UK while moving ahead both operationally and strategically.

“Our brand recognition continues to grow and over this key peak period, including the unprecedented demand seen on Black Friday, we continued to deliver for our customers.”

The retailer said it was confident of meeting its full-year targets. Mr Roberts added: “I am delighted at the progress we are making in Germany where we launched six months ahead of schedule.”

“We are already receiving great customer feedback, showing that our compelling offer translates well and giving us increased confidence in our ability to replicate our model in other overseas markets.”

However, since AO World floated last February, at 285p a share, it has consistently traded below its offer price.

Shore Capital said the company is “decoupling from the disappointers”.