Boohoo raises £198m as fashion retailer eyes acquisitions

Fast fashion retailer Boohoo has raised £198m as it seeks to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to snap up global brands.

Boohoo, which raised the funds through a share placing announced last night, said it would use the proceeds to “take advantage of numerous opportunities that are likely to emerge in the global fashion industry over the coming months”.

Read more: Boohoo’s understanding helps it avoid lockdown tears

The online retailer, which bought the Karen Millen and Coast brands last year, said it was reviewing “a number of possible merger and acquisition opportunities”. 

It said it saw a “significant opportunity” to replicate the success of its integration of the two retailers, as well as that of its earlier acquisitions of Nasty Gal and Miss Pap, with other fashion brands.

Boohoo reported a year-on-year slump in trading in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. However it said performance had improved during April and that trading in May has been “robust”.

In a statement last night Boohoo said: “The group does, however, remain cautious regarding the outlook, as a result of the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic together with the impact of lifting lock-down restrictions and the potential influence on competitive behaviour for the remainder of the year.” 

The retailer has not given guidance for the financial year ending 28 February 2021 due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Boohoo suffers coronavirus sales hit after bumper year

Boohoo’s revenue rose 44 per cent to £1.2bn in the year to the end of February 2020. Pre-tax profit jumped 54 per cent to £92.2m.

Chief executive John Lyttle said last month: “Although there is near-term uncertainty in the markets that we operate in, the group is underpinned by its incredibly strong balance sheet and is well-placed to leverage its scalable multi-brand platform and to continue to disrupt fashion markets around the world.”

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