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Sosandar grows during lockdown and signs deals with Next and John Lewis

Lauretta Roberts
09 June 2020

Online womenswear brand Sosandar said its sales were up during April and May as non-essential retail was locked-down in the UK and has revealed it has signed deals with Next and John Lewis for AW20.

The AIM-listed business said orders had grown 44% year-on-year while revenue was up 62%. New customer acquisition had grown 15% and it had reduced returns by 33%. The fast-growing, early-stage business had also cut marketing spend by 69%.

Sosandar, which targets women seeking trend-led fashion but who have grown out of the fast fashion retailers, had previously indicated that it was considering third-party deals and has signed with Next and John Lewis for the coming season. It has also added Klarna's flexible payment options at checkout.

In common with many others the company said it had seen a shift to more casual ranges under lockdown and had responded quickly to boost its offer of loungewear items, denim and casual summer dresses by repeating orders on sell-out items.

However the lower price of these items, compared to more formal options, had led to a decrease in average basket value, it said. On the plus side, given these styles are less form fitting, they contributed to the lowering of the returns rate.

Browsing on the site was up 98% as locked-down consumers spent more time online, which led to a lower conversion rate, but it found that marketing emails received a strong response and after, an initial period of discounting to stimulate demand, it had now returned to full price sales.

The company said it was in a strong cash position with £4.4m in the bank but said it was taking a number of measures to contain costs moving forward such as reduced spend on marketing, tighter stock control, flexing warehouse capacity according to demand and reducing board pay. Some 60% of its staff are currently furloughed.

Sosandar said it would publish its full results for the year to 31 March 2020 "in due course" but added that it expected to post revenue of at least £9m which is over 100% revenue growth year on year.

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