Thought leadership

Online fashion retailer Boohoo says it has found a new way of thriving in the coronavirus lockdown – by making people look good on video conference calls. The firm said it had seen a rise in sales of smart tops, as people working from home needed to keep up appearances on camera in front of their colleagues.

The Manchester-based firm said demand for the items had contributed to a rise in sales during April. Other sought-after lines included hoodies and jogging wear.

Announcing its latest financial results, Boohoo said it was seeing “improved year-on-year growth of group sales during April”, although it declined to give figures.

In the year to the end of February, the group, which includes PrettyLittle Thing and other brands, made pre-tax profits of £92.2m, up 54% on the previous 12 months.

Trading in March had been “mixed” because of the coronavirus pandemic, but performance had improved in more recent weeks, it said. Boohoo shares rose 5.5% in morning trading on the news.

A Boohoo spokesperson told the BBC: “People aren’t really buying going-out items, but they are buying homewear – hoodies, joggers, tracksuit bottoms.

“Sales of tops have gone up in particular, with everyone wanting to look smart on Zoom calls.”

Not all of Boohoo’s products have been as well received. On Monday, the firm apologised after its range of fashion face masks caused an outcry.

The £5 masks came with messages such as “Eat, sleep, isolate, repeat” or “If you can read this, you are too close”. Boohoo said it was “very sorry for any upset” and removed the masks from sale. It insisted they were not designed for “protection”.

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