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Booktopia turns a page with record profit

·2-min read

Online bookseller Booktopia has posted a record first-half result as Australians read their way out of lockdown.

Posting its first results since listing in December, homegrown Booktopia said COVID-19 had accelerated the ongoing adoption of online shopping and its own expected profit.

People have more spare cash available thanks to travel restrictions and confidence from the continued recovery in the housing market and jobs, Booktopia chief executive Tony Nash says.

"The demand we experienced from the beginning of the 2020 calendar year extended right through to Christmas, helping us to deliver the largest half-year revenue in the company's history," he said.

The average customer spent $123.57 per order, up from $103.32 a year earlier, as a record 4.2 million orders were shipped in the six months to December,

Revenue rose 51.1 per cent to $112.6 million and the e-commerce firm disclosed that the second half had started strongly with January and February 2021 revenues "tracking in excess of plan".

Full-year revenue expectations have been upgraded by 6.4 per cent to $217.6 million compared to last year's prospectus.

Expected underlying EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, has been upgraded by 36.3 per cent to $12.9 million - adjusted for listing costs. Underlying EBITDA for the first half was $8 million.

In the previous financial year, Booktopia reported sales of $165.8 million and an underlying EBITDA of $6 million.

Booktopia has a six per cent share of the total market by sales and almost 15 per cent of total online consumer book sales in Australia.

A doubling of capacity at its automated Sydney distribution centre allows the company to ship up to 60,000 books across 145,000 different tiles per day and calculate demand for future orders.

"We already had the largest and most advanced book distribution facility in the country, now it is bigger and faster," Mr Nash said.