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After a strong Black Friday, online fashion retailer Boohoo’s cofounders made a surprise share sale, offloading a 4.3 per cent stake, worth around £143m. The sale sent Boohoo’s share price down by 4.7 per cent to 279.40p at the time of writing. Despite the sale, co-founder and executive director Carol Kane and co-founder and executive chairman Mahmud Kahmani still collectively own a 15.8 per cent stake in the fashion brand.
So, what does the sell-off mean for investors, if anything, and was Boohoo’s Black Friday trading update made by design? Irrespective of the sell off, the retailer’s latest trading update was reassuring for investors – it had a record Black Friday and said it was “trading comfortably in line with market expectations.”
The teen and twenty-something favourite is continuing to trade well against the backdrop of a tough retail market – it reported a 43 per cent jump in revenue in its half year period to the end of August. It also posted an 83 per cent jump in profits to £45.2 million for the same period, taking its market value past that of more established rival ASOS for the first time. Part of the retailer’s growth strategy has been to acquire a broad range of fashion brands, including Karen Millen, Coast and MissPap, and this diversification approach has been well received.
Analysts have been impressed with the way it is leveraging its multi-brand platform – many reiterated buy ratings last week and Shore Capital analysts described the group as “a key disruptor in UK clothing.”
Since it was founded in 2014, Boohoo has grown rapidly, capitalising on its young demographic’s tendency to use mobile devices to shop and focusing on international growth with overseas sales now totalling 44 per cent of its revenue. The Black Friday update impressed analysts and investors alike with broker Jefferies raising its target price by 50p to 375p. In the wake of Kane and Kahmani’s off-load however there have been some cynics – independent retail analyst Nick Bubb, for example, told Sharecast that this unexpected trading update appears to have been “designed to underpin the share price, after a strong run, ahead of a big director share placing.”
Despite the sell off, no-one can deny Boohoo’s style credentials – it has been a strong performer since its flotation and it seems to know its niche, picking up a variety of brands to appeal right across its 16-30 demographic. It had been trading on a sizeable price to earnings ratio of 53.5 times and is worth £3.5 billion. The fashion brand posts its next trading figures in January and at the moment there is nothing to suggest that the sell-off and share price dip will be particularly damaging to the fashion favourite in the long-term.
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