Assignment Sample on BU7006 Strategic Financial management

1. Introduction

Boohoo Plc. is one of main online shopping groups operating in UK and it is a unique platform where investment is made on technology and processes to develop a business model to serve customers changing demands. This business model is useful for entering brand new markets and businesses such as Boohoo Plc are able to expand rapidly by adapting the business model. Boohoo Plc is also a multi brand business which has different brands working under them. Boohoo Plc’s objective is to become a leader in the online fashion market in the UK. This brand is known for its trendy clothes and it launches various new products daily. Boohoo Plc wants to work keeping in mind the interest of consumers, stakeholders, dealers and its employees to achieve growth by adopting sustainable approaches. Since 2014 Boohoo Plc has performed consistently and its efforts resulted in profitable growth here the study focusses on financial and non-financial management of Boohoo Plc and factors affecting it in detail to understand different aspects of its journey over the years.

2. Financial ratios of Boohoo Plc

Boohoo Plc is leading fashion retailer in the UK. The company operates on an online platform with a customer base of 17.8m (Statista, 2021). Increasing demand of going-out wear and dresses improved sale of Boohoo as shoppers shifted away from athleisure clothing (Bbc.co.uk, 2021). The company’s revenue jumped by 32% in 2021, thus financial ratio of Boohoo has been calculated by understanding its financial performance.   

Profitability
Ratios 2018[£-000] 2019[£-000] 2020[£-000] 2021[£-000]
Gross profit margin

<Profit(Gross)/Revenue(Total)>

52.8%

[306355/579800]

54.7%

[468994/856920]

54%

[666300/1234876]

 

        54.2%

[945200/1745300]

Net profit margin

<Profit(Net)/Revenue(Total)>

6.2%

[36,000/579,800]

5.5%

[47,459/856,920]

5.9%

[72,883/1,234,876]

5.4%

[93,400/1,745,300]

Return on capital employed

<Profit(Operating)/Employed(Capital)>

<Employed Capital=Asset(Total)-Liabilities(Current)>

56% [124100/222493(326887-104394)] 21%

[58680/277,683(439776-162093)]

26%

[90896/351,585(569491-217906)]

25%

[124100/489,300(775000-285700)]

Gross profit margin defines ability of firm to generate gross earnings from sales revenue. Boohoo has earned 52.8% gross earnings from sales revenue of £579800 in 2018. Similarly, Boohoo has earned 54.7% and 54% gross earnings in 2019 and 2020. So, in last 3 years, the firm has had higher gross earnings in 2019. In current year, Boohoo Plc has 54.2% gross earnings which is better than last year. So, sound performance of Boohoo has been found.

Net profit margin shows efficiency of firms to generate net earnings from sales revenue. Boohoo has earned 6.2% net earnings from sales revenue of £579800 in 2018. Moreover, Boohoo has earned 5.5% and 5.9% net earnings in 2019 and 2020. So, in last 3 years, the firm has had declining terms of net earnings. In current year, Boohoo Plc has 5.4% net earnings which is lower than last year. So, decreased profitability of Boohoo has been found.

Return on capital employed is a financial ratio that projects improper use of capital in business. The ratio focuses on operating profit and capital employed and defines efficiency of capital employed to aid into operating profit (Atrill and McLaney, 2020). Boohoo has 25% return on capital employed in 2021 which is lower than past 3 years. It means profitability and efficiency to effectively utilise capital employed have been reduced in company.

Efficiency
Ratios 2018[£-000] 2019[£-000] 2020[£-000] 2021[£-000]
Days in inventory

<Inventories(Closing)x365/Sales(Cost)>

64days

[48248*365/273445]

63days

[66806*365/387926]

64days

[99107*365/568640]

7days

[14490*365/800100]

Days in payable

<Payables(Trade)x365/Sales(Cost)>

129days

[96670*365/273445]

145days

[154351*365/387926]

188days

[293000*365/568640]

244

[535000*365/800100]

Days in receivable

<Receivables(Trade)x365/Sales(Revenue)>

11days

[17499*365/579800]

10days

[22576*365/856920]

9days

[31828*365/1234876]

8days

[40600*365/1745300]

Days in inventory is an efficiency that that focuses on ending stocks in financial statement (Sunaryo, 2020). The ratio compares ending stock with cost of sales and determines amount of time taken by venture to convert stocks into sales. As per the ratio, Boohoo has taken 7days to convert stocks into sales which defines good performance. However, Boohoo has 64-63days for converting stock into sales which defines inefficient business performance. So, the company has better performance in 2021.

Days in payables shows how efficiently a venture pays its creditors. As per Nuryani and Sunarsi (2020), taking key time for meeting outstanding payments defines greater efficiency of the firm. As per this ratio, Boohoo Plc has better performance in 2018. Efficiency of Boohoo has declined gradually as higher time is taken by management for meeting outstanding dues.

Days in receivables of Boohoo Plc is 8days in 2021 which means management has only taken 8 days for collecting all the dues from customers. Moreover, the company has taken 9days in 2020 and 10days in 2019 for collecting dues. So, a gradual improvement in days in receivable has been found in the last 3 years.

Liquidity
Ratios 2018[£-000] 2019[£-000] 2020[£-000] 2021[£-000]
Cash ratio

<Cash equivalent(Cash balance)/Liability(Current)>

1.37

[142575/104394]

1.22

[197872/£162093]

1.13

[245400/£217906]

 

0.97

[276000/285700]

Current ratio

<Asset(Current)/Liability(Current)>

2.06

[215092/104394]

1.83

[296323/£162093]

1.76

[382982/217906]

1.69

[483000/£285700]

Acid test ratio

<Asset(Current)-Inventories/Liability(Current)>

1.60

[215092-48248/£104394]

1.42

[296323-66806/162093]

1.30

[382982-99107/217906]

1.64

[483000-14490/285700]

Cash ratio of Boohoo Plc is 0.97times in 2021 which is 0.16times lower than 2020, 0.25times lower than 2019 and 0.4times lower than 2018. The company has declining liquidity position due to higher current liabilities. In each year a proportion of current liabilities are increasing in Boohoo Plc which has harming ability of management to maintain adequate cash balance.

Current ratio of Boohoo Plc is 2.06times in 2018, 1.83times in 2019 and 1.76times in 2020. These ratios show slight reduction in liquidity position in each year. In 2021 Boohoo Plc has 1.69times liquidity position due to presence of lower current assets. The company has taken higher current liabilities which indicates reduction in performance.

Acid test ratio of Boohoo Plc is 1.60times in 2018, 1.42times in 2019 and 1.30times in 2020. These ratios show slight reduction in liquidity position in each year. In 2021 Boohoo Plc has 1.64times liquidity position due to presence of lower inventory balance. The company has maintained lower closing inventories due to higher demand for fashion products.

Investors
Ratios 2018[£-000] 2019[£-000] 2020[£-000] 2021[£-000]
Debt ratio

<Debt/Debt+ equity>

34%

[114108/326,887(114108+212779)]

38%

[169374/439,776(169374+270402)]

42%

[241556/569,491(241556+327935)]

39%

[303400/775,900(303400+472500)]

P/B ratio

<Stock price in market/book value per share>

543.44

[157.6/0.29]

1,320

[290.4/0.22]

726

[290.4/0.40]

699.87

[265.95/0.38]

Interest ratio

<Earnings (before interest and tax)/Interest

292.36

[42685/146]

407.50

[58680/144]

233.07

[90896/390]

413.67

[124100/300]

Debt ratio helps in determining the worth of debt in capital structure of a company (Irman and Purwati, 2020). Debt ratio of Boohoo Plc is 39% in 2021, 42% in 2020, 38% in 2019 and 34% in 2018. The ratio indicates that the company has maintained lower debt balance in capital structure. Thus, a good solvency position of Boohoo Plc has been found in 2021.

P/B ratio is a financial ratio that compares market capitalisation of a venture with book value (Bhimani et al., 2019). P/B ratio of Boohoo Plc is 699.87 in 2021, 726 in 2020, 1320 in 2019 and 543.44 in 2018. P/B ratio of 2021 is lower than 2020 which means shares of Boohoo are slightly undervalued in 2021. Undervalued shares are better than overvalued shares, so performance of Boohoo is efficient in 2021.

Interest ratio is used by investors for determining efficiency of ventures to honour debt and interest payments. If a company pays interest efficiently, it is good for investment (Lumapow and Tumiwa, 2017). Boohoo Plc has 413.67 interest ratio in 2021 which is 233.07 in 2020, 407.50 in 2019 and 292.36 in 2018. Interest ratio shows Boohoo Plc is paying interest frequently in financial period.

Major reason for strategic development and financial performance 

Financial analysis of Boohoo Plc shows increasing financial performance and development. The company gained higher recognition from 2018 due to projecting higher sales revenue and customers’ base. The company gets ample benefits from its online-only business model and purchasing different brands.

As Boohoo operates on an online-only business model, it incurred less operating cost and helped in generating higher profits. From 2017, the company started strategic development by purchasing brands like PrettyLittleThings, MissPap and Nasty Gal. Boohoo was established in 2006 with key brands BoohooMan and boohoo. However, including more brands have been added into brand and product portfolio of venture.

In 2018, the company acquired brands like Karen Millen and Coast which has facilitated group revenue of Boohoo. In 2019, the company invested in Wallis brand of Arcadia Group and purchased all the rights of the brand. Moreover, Warehouses, and Oasis brands. In 2020 the company projects strong market position due to increase in online sales.

The company faced supply chain issues and an independent review of KPMG shows “many failings and external serious conditions” of the venture. For improving reputation, Boohoo included fast forward initiative in financial reporting. Moreover, in 2021, Boohoo acquired Debenhams Limited which has helped in improving financial position of the company.

3. Significant trends and development since 2018 -2021

PESTLE analysis

Factors Boohoo
Political ●      Boohoo Plc has been affected by political events such as UK exit from European Union.

●      Business in UK has been significantly affected by trade war between US and China which has resulted in a significant slowdown of growth for businesses all over the world.

●      As emphasized by Yang et al. (2020) corruption and government interference has also impacted businesses such as Boohoo Plc negatively.

Economical ●      Boohoo Plc has been affected by macro-economic factors such as exchange rate of currencies in different countries as it has operation in international market in addition to UK.

●      UK has Gross Domestic Product (GDP) £ 520.6 billion which indicates that consumers have capacity to spend money on fashionable clothing (Statista.com, 2021).

●      Boohoo Plc would be able to have successful business operations in the UK if it is able to lower the cost of production for its business.

Social ●      As number of smartphone users are increasing in UK currently 92% of the mobile phone users have been reported to use smartphones, Boohoo Plc need to focus on internet any customers to increase its business (Statista.com, 2021).

●      Social media is the main tool for business therefore Boohoo Plc needs to use social media platforms to promote businesses.

●      Influencers in social media are able to generate positive press for businesses therefore Boohoo Plc needs to have a strategy to utilise this opportunity to increase its profit in market in UK.

Technological ●      Boohoo Plc needs to adapt automation to modernize its facilities in supply centres in UK.

●      In views of Medina et al. (2019) new innovative technological solutions are also welcomed by businesses such as 3D printing and body scanning.

●      Integration of new technologies would be helpful for business as it would support the process of strategic decision making.

Legal ●      Boohoo Plc has seen clashes with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) over fashion forward Covid-19 masks.

●      It has also failed to provide adequate conditions for its employees ensuring their safety and security.

●      Boohoo Plc need to make sure that anti-discrimination laws are followed in its hiring process and inclusive culture is promoted by businesses. Human resources need to hire people of colour to redeem its public image as it would affect business booty to attract new talents.

●      Boohoo Plc also need to abide by consumer protection laws and protect consumer data form piracy and other data theft.

●      Business needs to protect its products by imposing intellectual property laws. If the business fails to impose these laws it would result in loss of competitive advantage for the business.

Environmental ●      Boohoo needs to make sure that materials which are used to package its products are 100% recycled material.

●      As emphasized by Fernandes et al. (2020) using recycled materials would help Boohoo Plc to reach its proposed objectives of approaching a sustainable method to run its business.

Development in Boohoo Plc

Boohoo Plc is known as a fast fashion brand in UK which mainly serves the customer in the age group of 16 to 30 years and it has different brands such a Boohoo man, pretty little thing and Nasty Gal operating under the umbrella of Boohoo group. In 2018 Boohoo had £ 579.8 million revenue and it has seen 95% growth all across UK in 2018 and 99 % international growth. In 2018 Boohoo Plc had a gross margin of 52.8% which was better compared to 2017 as a group. In 2018, Boohoo built an extension of its distribution centre as part of its business operation and they had 6.4 million customers which was 22% more compared to previous year and this data shows that Boohoo Plc has benefitted from making investments. It also transitioned to new websites in all markets and made significant investment in customer service. In 2019, Boohoo Plc had the revenue of £ 856.9 million which was a 48% increase from 2018. Gross margin also increased to 54.7% in 2019 and it shows the availability of £ 190.7 million worth of net cash and operating cash flow of £ 111.9 million was found. In Burnley distribution centre automation was adopted and 16% rise of financial revues was evident in 2019(Boohooplc.com, 2019). In 2020 despite Covid-19 Boohoo continued to show growth as the trend of online shopping was favoured by customers as physical stores were forced to close down due to lockdown and other restrictions. Data showed 28% growth in active customer numbers from 2018 and Gross margin increased to 52.6% at the same time revenue growth showed 38% growth ((Boohooplc.com, 2020). In 2020, Boohoo acquired Miss pap and Karen Millen into its umbrella of business which operates under Boohoo Plc group. Its distribution centres were able to deliver orders efficiently on time for customers as the automation process helped Boohoo plc to achieve its targets. In this year Boohoo faced criticism in an independent review which alleged Boohoo Plc to have unacceptable working conditions in its product manufacturing centres and below average payment by Sunday Times (Boohooplc.com, 2020). In 2021 Boohoo reported 41% growth and 18 million active customers with 35% increase in its profits as it stated its vision to be an innovative organisation which is making investment to increase market share and open to integrate other bands under the group.

Development in wider retail sector

Retail sector in UK has seen major growth over the years as it declared its output as £ 97.0 in 2021 which was 5.2% of UK’s total economic growth. In 2019 retail sector has seen 3.0 million jobs added to the market. Pandemic has impacted UK retail sector as Covid-19 stated in march 2020 retail sales were hit hard as lockdown started across the UK and it made recovery in June 2020 to its pre pandemic levels (Boohooplc.com, 2020).

Internet sales in retail sector

As non-essential retail opened in April 2020the sales kept increasing. Internet sales on the other hand has been rising since 2008 and it reached 20% in 2019 in UK. Pandemic contributed to this rise in internet sales as stores were closed and it reached 28% for all sales in UK. E-commerce has resulted in 8% sales in UK across all industries in retail sector and in 2020, online sales grew 46.1% which shows fastest rate in last ten years (Statista.com, 2021).

Employment in retail sector

In 2020, 54 companies close their stores and many jobs were affected but this does to result in job lose always but in terms of store closure it has been highest since financial crisis in 2008-2009. In 2020, 0.4% fall of employment was seen compared to 2018 when employment increased by 1% during this time (Reserchbriefings.files.parliamnet.uk, 2021). London has lowest retail employment in 2019 only 7.5% jobs were available in retail sector.

4. Major financial performance challenges and opportunities

SWOT analysis

Factors Boohoo
Strength ●      Boohoo Plc has shown rapid growth in financial performance over the years.

●      Boohoo has made its distribution centers automated which resulted in a highly effective business process.

●      It approached fashion for all motto which helped to increase customer base.

●      It has different brands operating under its umbrella which helped to maintain its strong global presence in different markets.

Weakness ●      In 2020 Boohoo Plc faced controversies because of underpayment of its employees and substandard working conditions.

●      It also received backlash for not hiring people of color into its business operation and lack of diversity among employees were brought into public domain.

Opportunities ●      Boohoo Plc benefited from partnering with celebrities which increased its popularity among consumers.

●      As stated by Chunling (2020) pandemic boosted online sales and e-commerce as the retail sector continues to grow amid shop closures.

●      In views of Watanabe et al. (2021) It uses digital fit technology to make customer’s shopping experience better.

●      Boohoo has a competitive advantage as it mostly operates online and it was able to keep its business open during the pandemic.

Threats ●      Boohoo Plc was affected severely due to Brexit and it affected consumer confidences in the business.

●      As Boohoo Plc is known for its fast fashion which fulfils customers’ demands within very less time the customers are prone to change their preferences rapidly which has the capacity to affect the brands activity.

●      In view of Andryushenkova, (2021) many brands are also embracing the online shopping trend as customers continue to shop online despite many physical stores opening in 2021. Brands such as ASOS, Next Plc and Zara have made the fashionable clothing market more competitive for Boohoo Plc.

Challenges

Financial challenges

Boohoo has become a leading fashion retailer all over the world. The company has strong financial performance in global fashion market with a large customer base. However, the company has inadequate management of employees. One of the suppliers of Boohoo was manufacturing clothes without paying adequate remuneration to workers. However, the company introduced fast and forward initiative in management for dealing with such issues. Moreover, business model of boohoo belongs to fast fashion industry that has a harmful impact on environment and society. As the company currently has such ethical, social and environmental issues, such issues might also be incurred in future. Along with rapid improvement, the company is providing less focus on core activities which is creating issues in performance. It may adversely impact on market price of shares of Boohoo Plc and decline its group revenue. Presence of ethical and environmental issues would decline financial growth of Boohoo Plc in the foreseeable future.

Non-financial challenges

Boohoo Plc has many non-financial challenges such as supply issues, betterment of working conditions, and lack of diversity of its workforces, under payment of its staff are some of the eminent challenges faced by Boohoo Plc. It is showing steady growth over the years as demand for its products offered online continue to grow and boost sales of the organisation as customers preferences changed from athleisure to fast fashion.

Supply chain issue

Boohoo Plc has taken the reports from Leicester supply chain facility seriously as it was alleged to run supply centres in unsafe conditions where less than minimum wage was paid to workers. As emphasized by Camargo et al. (2020) It has not denied the allegations and started an initiative to resolve these issues called Fast Forward which was previously joined by ASOS and Marks and Spencer’s (M&S) and this initiative was started in 2014 to discover audit evasion and exploitation such as forced labour. It is also rebuilding its supply chain process and advisory from KPMG is responsible for this task as revises to its existing supply chain process continues.

Sustainable Approaches 

Boohoo Plc is ready to take adequate measures to repair its supply chains as it introduced a new set of criteria with stricter rules for its supply chain process. In views of Stenton et al. (2021) Boohoo Plc has published its existing supplier list and it is continuing to review supply chain facilities. Its co-founders stated that Boohoo Plc is ready to adopt sustainable approaches as business is taking steps to reach better standards of business practices. It has taken practical steps to become more compliant and committed to recover issues in the organisation. Boohoo has 500 facilities of supply chain network currently and among them 100 face the same allegation of poor-quality working conditions. According to experts it is difficult to make changes happen as these issues are complex in nature which makes the challenge particularly difficult for Boohoo Plc.

Opportunities

Financial opportunities

Currently, Boohoo Plc has strong financial performance in the market. By operating only on an online platform, it has become a leader in the global fashion industry. So, the company has an opportunity to expand business in the physical market in a post-pandemic situation. The company currently has competitors like Asos, H&M, Missguided, Trendyol, Topshop Topman, Net-a-porter and Matches Fashion. However, Next Plc is the UK’s biggest fashion retailer on the physical market and expanding business in the physical market would allow Boohoo to compete with Next Plc. So, the company would have the opportunity to acquire higher market share in the global fashion industry by operating physical stores. Therefore, the company has vast opportunities for financial growth in future.

Non-financial opportunities

There are many non-financial opportunities available for Boohoo Plc as profit increases and customers are opting for shopping online over traditional methods. Online retailers in UK have seen an increase in sales as shoppers opted to shop online during Covid-19. Boohoo opened Debenhams digital department store which offers fashion, homeware and beauty products to customers. It invested £ 55 million to acquire Debenhams brand name and its website. It also benefited from integrating products from brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis as Boohoo Plc brought these brands from Arcadia with £ 25.2 million (Bbc.com, 2021).  As the high street stores started to reopen online sales remain unaffected and revenues continue to rise to 50% in 2021. Customers were offered the same clothes at different prices by Boohoo as the same product was sold by Dorothy Perkins in £ 55 and Coast sold the same product in £ 89. Boohoo Plc called the incident a genuine mistake and not part of its business strategy (Bbc.com, 2021).

In another case another one product was sold by the Karen Millen brand and customers received it with the Oasis label. Boohoo clarified later to not have complete knowledge of this incident as the same item was purchased by the company and sold at different price points and under different brand names. Boohoo Plc needs to rectify these issues as customers buy different products from brands operating under the umbrella of Boohoo group as these brands have loyal customers who make frequent purchases. This results in breach of trust for customers who are buying these products in good faith from Boohoo Plc. As Covid-19 restriction forced non-essential store to close down Boohoo Plc was able to use this opportunity to acquire different brand under its name and bright excess clothes from retailers who closed their business during pandemic and used it to meet the growing consumer demand as their stocks started to go down because of surges of online shopping. This resulted in buying of same items from different suppliers and resulted in mix up and prices of the same item were listed differently by brands working under Boohoo group. Boohoo Plc clarified this issue and apologized to customers for these mistakes.

5. Conclusion

Boohoo Plc has been successful in the online market in the UK retail fashion industry and performed continuously over the years showing increasing growth in revenue and customer number. But they face many challenges as well. The brand has extended its business as it chose to manufacture products in the UK instead of outsourcing these manufacturing processes outside the country. They were able to charge these products accordingly as these products were made in UK. It created new job opportunities for locals and was able to meet consumer’s demands within record time as well. It needs to keep up with the laws regarding safety standards of its facilities and need to keep working to reach the expected standards as other businesses operating in UK. It needs to pay its workforce according to the national standards and as it is one of the brand’s strengths to have a wide range of products available for customers, it needs to uphold customer confidence. Incidents regarding pricing strategies have the potential to increase customer distrust in the brand which is harmful for its future.

References

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