Strong performance in Australia and North America brings more pleasure to Lovehoney

January 18, 2019

Sales and profits have both surged by 22% at Bath-based sex toy firm Lovehoney as it continues to shrug off the limp UK retail market and win legions of new fans in bedrooms across the globe.

The firm, which styles itself as a sexual wellbeing online retailer, said the profit rise from £9m to £11m in the year to March 31 was driven by strong sales globally following investment in international distribution and customer service. 

The sales increase from £76m to £93m was a combination of a strong performance in the UK and sharp growth across the world.

It described a £31.6m increase in Australia and North America – a 67% rise year-on-year – was “particularly impressive”. Sales were also up by 30.5% globally in the run-up to Christmas.

Richard Longhurst, who founded the firm in 2002 with Neal Slateford, said: ‘’This year has been our biggest year to date, with record sales and profit which are both up by more than a fifth.

“Sales growth of more than two thirds in two key territories of America and Australia reflects our focus on international expansion as a key part of our global strategy.

“After opening our own distribution centres in Australia and the US last year, we now are able to tailor offers and deals to meet local demand, further fuelling our international growth.”

He said Lovehoney’s aim was to be the world’s best-known sexual wellbeing brand.

“We now have nine international websites in four languages served from three distribution centres. We are the ‘go-to’ destination for people who want to discover a fun and fulfilling sex life.

“Our customer services is 24/7 and fluent in multiple languages so we’re on hand to help no matter where in the world people are.”

Lovehoney’s international success received royal recognition in 2016 when it was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Much of its growth up to then had come after it secured the exclusive official licence for the Fifty Shades franchise in 2012, which it claimed helped the brand gain awareness across a much wider audience.

The ‘Fifty Shades Effect’ – based on the best-selling Fifty Shades series of erotic novels – was still attracting new customers, the firm said.

In June, Swiss-based private equity firm Telemos Capital invested an undisclosed amount in the business and acquired a majority stake from the co-founders.

The deal was Telemos first in the UK since being set up in 2017 by a member of Switzerland’s wealthy Jacobs family,

Richard and Neal continue to lead day-to-day operations at its Bath headquarters, where it employs more than 200 staff, while Telemos’ executive chairman Philippe Jacobs and chief investment officer Jacob Polny have joined the board.

Richard said that the company continued to innovate. “We have had some huge successes and great moments in our history but we’re not resting on our laurels,” he added.

“We are constantly looking to build our own brand products to ensure that we’re not relying on third parties to come up with new products. By creating our own products, we can ensure that customers know they’ll always get the best innovation and quality, and at a fair price.”

He said sales had continued to grow at similar levels to the previous year in the nine months following the end of the 2017/18 financial year and had shrugged off the UK high street Christmas retail slump.

Best-selling products at Christmas included its ‘Wild Weekend’ sex toy set, its Fifty Shades of Grey ‘Greedy Girl’ rabbit vibrator and the brand’s ‘Boudoir Belle’ lingerie collection.

Pictured, Lovehoney founders Richard Longhurst, left, and Neal Slateford 



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