Cult Beauty hits milestone with £100m+ sales

UK-based online beauty retailer Cult Beauty’s sales topped £100 million for the first time in 2019 as sales rose by almost one-third to £104 million, its founder said.

In an interview, Alexia Inge, also said earnings were up 94% to £5.7 million, adding that the increase was down to economies of scale and efficiencies achieved through its new distribution centre.

She told The Times that the firm is continuing to grow “while we see other retailers suffering as they throw more and more products at the already ‘beauty confused’. Our customers keep coming back because they trust us to provide them with the best advice.”

She said international sales currently account for 59% of the total and European sales have risen by a quarter. Conversion rates have risen too.

There was talk last year that the company was looking for a buyer or investor to help it move to the next level but there’s been no development on this and Inge said she’s still “looking at opportunities that are out there”.

She added: “My focus at the moment is about driving profitable growth. Even though that has been such an unfashionable thing for an internet business, I’ve always been looking at the bottom line.”

Last month, Cult Beauty Limited filed its accounts for its fiscal year running from June 1 2018 to May 31 2019 and these showed sales rising to £89.6 million from a restated £66 million in the previous year. That represented year-on-year growth of 36% and it saw growth across all categories and geographic areas. 

The UK remained its single largest market at 43%, but this was down from 50% in the previous year and non-UK revenue grew at a faster rate.

The company’s gross profit margin fell to 27.7% from 28.8% but this was caused by an increasing percentage of the business being international and costing more to service, as well as the changing brand mix during the year. That meant final profit for the year fell to £2.129 million from £2.944 million.