* Boohoo profit doubles in 2016-17 year
* Forecasts revenue growth of 50 pct in 2017-18
* Shares up 273 pct over the last year
(Adds detail, background, analyst comment, shares)
By James Davey
LONDON, April 26 British online fashion retailer
Boohoo forecast sales growth of 50 percent in its new
financial year after a doubling of profit in 2016-17, resisting
signs from other retailers that shoppers are turning cautious on
Recent official data, industry surveys and company comments,
for example from Carpetright and Costa Coffee owner
Whitbread on Tuesday, have indicated that Britons are
starting to feel the strain of rising prices after last year's
vote to leave the European Union sent the pound plunging.
However, annual results from Boohoo on Wednesday showed that
some bright spots, particularly in value retailing, remain.
Boohoo, which sells own-brand clothing, shoes and
accessories online to a core market of 16-24 year-olds, has been
one of the best performing UK stocks over the last year, almost
quadrupling in value.
"Trading in the first few weeks of the 2017-18 financial
year has made a promising start," said Mahmud Kamani and Carol
Kane, Boohoo's joint chief executives, echoing comments from
Primark, the discount fashion retailer, last week.
The company expects group revenue growth in 2017-18
approaching 50 percent, including growth from the acquisitions
of the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands at the beginning
of this year. A profit margin of 10 percent was forecast.
"The acquisitions represent a step change in the size,
structure and operation of the group," said the joint CEOs.
Boohoo and online rivals such as ASOS are winning
share from traditional high street retailers, benefiting from
the increasing popularity of smartphone e-commerce and their
extensive use of social media.
Boohoo made a pretax profit of 30.9 million pounds ($39.7
million) in the year to Feb. 28 - ahead of analysts' average
forecast of 28.7 million pounds, according to Reuters data, and
15.7 million pounds made in 2015-16.
Revenue rose 51 percent to 294.6 million pounds as Boohoo's
customer base grew 29 percent to 5.2 million, while
international growth, particularly in the United States,
exceeded management expectations.
Boohoo floated at 50 pence a share in 2014 but the stock was
hammered by a profit warning the following year. Its shares have
since recovered strongly and are up 36 percent so far this year.
They were, however, down 3 percent at 184 pence at 0908 GMT,
giving a market capitalisation of 2 billion pounds - more than
treble the value of UK department store chain Debenhams.
Analysts at Peel Hunt, who have a "buy" rating on Boohoo
upgraded their 2017-18 pretax profit forecast to 40 million
"With strong trading momentum from autumn/winter likely to
have provided a good start to the new season, trading updates
are unlikely to disappoint and the medium term outlook remains
encouraging," they said.
($1 = 0.7791 pounds)
(Editing by Kate Holton, editing by Louise Heavens)