Boden toasts global gains after a tough time at home

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The Independent Online

Boden, Middle England's favourite online clothing retailer, has revealed that its international sales have surged past those in the UK for the first time.

Founder and chairman Johnnie Boden also said the mail order business remained committed to distributing 50 million catalogues a year, as its customers "love to browse" them before ordering products online.

Boden, which counts the Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha as fans, said its overseas sales has overtaken UK revenue in the last three months.

Mr Boden, who owns 60 per cent of the company, said: "We are still growing in England but the international markets are growing faster. The US is now a $200m business. We are one of the most successful British clothing retailers in the US."

Boden launched in America in 2002 and also delivers to scores of countries, including Germany, Japan and India.

In the UK, Mr Boden said trading in the first few months of this year had been "very difficult", partly because of the extended near-Artic weather. But he added it enjoyed "strong" sales in April.

Ideally, Mr Boden said the company would like to scale back the volume of catalogues it sends out each year to reduce costs.

However, he explained that while 90 per cent of its orders are made online, the catalogue still drives a lot of this traffic.

"Whenever we do a web-only product it does not work so well," said Mr Boden.

The founder declared that it was "highly unlikely" he would seek to float the business but refused to rule it out in the long-term.

He said: "We are fortunate at the moment that we do not need to raise any money. There is no real reason [to float] unless we wanted to use equity to buy another company but we have quite a lot on our plate at the moment.

"It is a possibility if there is an amazing corporate deal that falls into our lap with something that we felt was unmissable."

Boden delivered pre-tax profits of £17.9m over the year to 31 December 2011, on turnover of £245.9m, according to its latest accounts.