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Booktopia’s first-half profit slip as consumer demand shifts

Pureplay online books retailer Booktopia has reported a net loss of $3.9 million as consumer behaviour adjusted in a post-Covid environment and the company wrote off a major asset.

For the six months to December 31, sales fell 15.3 per cent to $110.1 million compared to the previous corresponding period when ongoing lockdowns had boosted demand for online shopping.

First-half EBITDA plunged 67.7 per cent to $1.32 million (compared with $4.1 million in the same period a year earlier). The company said the $3.9 million loss was impacted by one-offs, including a $2.2 million gain from the re-measuring of a previous provision for penalties relating to an ACCC matter and a $2.72 million loss for the accelerated depreciation of assets in the current customer fulfilment centre which will be replaced ahead of Christmas.

The company shipped 3.94 million units during the half, a decline of 16.7 per cent from the 4.73 million a year earlier.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales delivered 18 per cent to total revenue while the average order value increased 3.3 per cent to $76.54.

Booktopia chairman, Peter George, said the half presented “difficult trading conditions” with various economic headwinds combined with volatile conditions.

He added the business is “optimistic” the new Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) at Sydney’s south Strathfield will improve margins and lower operating costs.

The company expects to deliver approximately $12 million to $15 million of annualised cost improvements in the next financial year.

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