Online retailer Lovehoney saw its pre-tax profits rise by 79% from €3million to €5.2million, thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey. Sales at the Bath-based sex toy firm increased by 53%, from €40m to €61m due to strong growth in the UK and internationally. Staff numbers globally have increased by 39%, from 120 to 167 following the launch of new websites for the French, German and Australian markets and customers paying in Euros. Overseas sales almost trebled from €6.4m to €17m.
Turnover was boosted by investment in TV advertising and enhancements to the website – making it easier to use on mobile devices. Lovehoney’s directors’ report for 2014 -15 said the infrastructure put in place was ‘turning the strong turn-over growth into strong profit and cash growth.’
Lovehoney has continued to grow in the last six months, with similar rises in turn-over to the previous year, following February’s release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Universal is releasing the next movie from E L James’ best-selling trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, in February 2017. Lovehoney has the official worldwide licence to make all Fifty Shades sex merchandise and it has released new Red Room, Playroom and Weekend collections. All the products have been developed with E L James.
In September, Lovehoney released a new range of Motörhead branded sex toys endorsed by the heavy metal band’s legendary lead singer Lemmy. The range has been a global hit and will help to drive sales in the run-up to Christmas. Around a third of Lovehoney’s sales come from lingerie. It launched its own lingerie label a year ago, Lovehoney Lingerie, which already the best-selling lingerie brand on Lovehoney. Sales have been boosted with successful celebrity endorsements from MTV stars, Chloe Goodman from Ex On The Beach and Marnie Simpson from Geordie Store.
Unveiling results up to March 31 2015, Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford said: “We have enjoyed another record year – growing market share and attracting a significant number of new shoppers as the switch from high street to online gathers pace. The continued international success of the Fifty Shades of Grey brand has helped to fuel international growth and we have made a number of structural changes to ensure the surge in sales is sustained. Mobile sales continues to rise rapidly and we have responded with key improvements to our website. Growth has been fuelled too by the increasing acceptance of sex toys as a great way to improve sexual happiness. We are continuing to explore new opportunities for licensing deals due to the success of Fifty Shades and previous celebrity collaborations.“