AO World warns of supply shortages before Christmas

AO World warns of supply shortages before Christmas

One of the pandemic winners suffered 10 m losses between April and September due to the coronaviruses disruption, and the AO World warned of shortages of electrical products and delivery drivers before Christmas.

The online retailer said that shortages had been particularly acute in electronics, such as Apple's iPhone and games consoles, including Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.

AO World, which sells mainly white goods such as washing machines, said it was experiencing significant supply chain challenges with poor availability in certain categories, particularly in our newer products, where we have less scale, experience, and leverage before popular shopping periods like Black Friday.

The company pointed out a shortage of components for manufacturers, which are in a global battle for supplies of semiconductor chips that are used in devices from toothbrushes to electric cars.

Its shares fell 25% to 94 p after the profit warning on Tuesday and are currently 77% less than their value at the beginning of the year.

AO, founded in 2000 by CEO John Roberts, had soared in value during the pandemic, as store closures for large parts of 2020 and 2021 and increased household savings added to consumer spending power. The company surged above its float price of 285 p a share in 2014, and it broke above 400 p for the first time in December as investors looked for companies that could continue selling through lock downs.

AO said revenues had risen by 6% year on year to 761 m in the six months to 30 September. It lost 10 m before tax during that period, compared with a profit before tax of 18 m in 2020.

AO warned that shipping costs, material input prices and consumer price inflation are challenging uncertainties and our results over this period have to be impacted by the constraints and uncertainty seen across the industry, a concern about price increases that have prompted the Bank of England to raise interest rates. We ve materially cemented the progress of the last year, with a step-change in scale and consumer behaviour and the fundamentals of business in place for sustained growth.