AO.com boss pledges to consult with staff over redundancies
ONLINE domestic goods retailer ao.com has pledged to consult elected employee representatives over pending redundancies.
Bosses at the firm, based at The Parklands Business Park, in Horwich, say it will be only after this process it will be able to “form a view” of the number of roles affected across all its departments.
As reported in yesterday’s The Bolton News, one employee said up to 40 jobs were under threat, but chief executive John Roberts denies this figure.
News of the job losses broke on the day the company, founded by former Bolton School pupil Mr Roberts as the result of a £1 bet in a pub, announced a 40 per cent surge in sales in its first full-year trading to the city.
The company floated in March and Mr Roberts said: “The company is in great shape, structurally and financially.
"Losing staff is not a nice journey to go on, but it is one of the responsibilities we bear as the burden of leadership.
“Our plan is to maintain our strategy to grow the business year on year, to launch into sales of TVs and to expand internationally across Europe.”
Ao.com generated sales of £384.9 million in the year to March 31, driven by increased order volumes.
However, the firm went into the red after incurring costs of up to £15.4 million in the IPO — (initial public offering) of shares. It made an operating loss of £7.2 million against an operating profit of £8.4 million last year.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 10.9 per cent to £11.2 million while operating profit before exceptional items was down from £8.4 million to £8.2 million.
Mr Roberts said: “I am delighted by the achievements the ao team has delivered over the course of the last year and the progress we have made in positioning ourselves to realise the very exciting opportunity we have ahead of us.”
Ao.com’s capital expenditure for the year was £7.5 million, up from £3.3 million last year, as it invested in a new head office and its supply chain.
It said it benefited from introducing same-day delivery, extending the cut-off times for next-day delivery from 10pm to midnight, and the extension of services for cooking appliances to include gas and electrical installation.
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