AO World warns growth is being hit by shortage of delivery drivers

Online white goods retailer AO World has warned its growth is being hit by the nationwide shortage of delivery drivers and ongoing disruption in the global supply chain.

AO said sales were up 5 per cent in the six months to the end of September.

But despite the difficulties, bosses said sales were up 5 per cent in the six months to the end of September, including 6 per cent growth in the UK and 3 per cent growth in Germany.

The company said: "The challenging market dynamics in both the UK and Germany resulted in lower volumes than expected which affected operational leverage, particularly in the second quarter."

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AO enjoyed a strong period during the pandemic as shoppers turned to online retailers for goods. Bosses pointed out that on a two-year basis sales grew 66 per cent.

AO added: "Whilst we continue to see industrywide issues relating to ongoing supply chain disruption, we have implemented measures to help mitigate these challenges in our logistics operations."

Underlying pre-tax profits, which strip out one-off costs, are expected to be between £35m and £50m, with profits expected to be weighted towards the second half.

Several retailers have warned that supply chains are being hit due to shortages.

The Government has introduced 5,000 temporary visas for more HGV drivers amid a heavy backlog of people looking to take driving tests, but many in the sector said more needs to be done.

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