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Middle-class favourite Boden posts record profits

Catalogue retailer plans further European expansion with target to double company’s size in next few years

Catalogue retailer Boden revealed a jump in profits on Monday, with customers around the world buying into the British retailer’s distinctive brand of middle-class casual clothing.

Boden said its accounts, set to be filed at Companies House later this week, would show turnover up 15% to £232m, and pre-tax profits up 13% at £32.5m, for the year to the end of last December.

Sales rose 61% in Germany and Austria as the retailer pushed abroad.

Chief executive Julian Granville said. “Our customer base continues to expand and we now have over 1.2m loyal customers worldwide. We will continue to focus on international expansion and look forward to testing the French market this autumn, with other European markets to follow in 2012. The successful launch of internet-only styles without the support of catalogue mailings is particularly promising and will help drive profitability in the longer-term. We will look to expand this area over the course of the next year.”

Granville said he was “very pleased” with the business’s increased profitability and continued growth given the difficult economic environment over the last year. “Whilst we remain cautious about the current economic and retail environment, the management are confident that Boden is a strong and robust business and brand that will continue to grow,” he said.

Founded by old Etonian former stockbroker Johnnie Boden in 1991, with clothes sold from his flat in west London and modelled in its first catalogues by his friends, the company is hoping to hit sales of £500m in the next few years, doubling in size.

Boden makes up to a third of its revenues in the US, according to its 2009 accounts. A French website was launched two weeks ago, and the business aims to expand further into Europe in 2012.

Boden said it had a total of 1.27m active customers at the end of last year, an 11% rise on the previous 12 months.

The company said that despite the strong numbers for 2010, the challenging economic environment was putting pressure on profitability in the current financial year. Sales grew by a more modest 5% in the first half of 2011 on a like-for-like basis, with customers “highly sensitive to promotions”.

Johnnie Boden owns 60% of the company, which is still privately held. As well as trading online there are two stores – one in London and one in Surrey. The company employs 800 staff and sends 12,500 parcels a day from its warehouse in Leicester. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds