AIM new admission: In The Style


Online fashion retailer In The Style got off to a strong start on AIM with the share price increasing from the 200p placing price to 237p. Recent trading has been exceptionally good as high street competitors were hit by the lockdown and consumers moved online.

Existing shareholders raised £46.8m from share sales. After expenses there was £9.1m raised by the company. This will finance further expansion including a new warehouse.

This is a predominantly UK business with most of the products made in the UK or China. Customers are added through deals with celebrities and online influencers, although In The Style is trying to boost awareness of its own brand. Choosing the right influencers is important and a big launch is teased for April.

In The Style appears to understand its market niche but it had been losing money up until the nine months to December 2020. Gross margin has fallen below 50% in the latest period and it will be interesting to see whether that figure will recover.

Even so, overheads are growing at a slower rate than gross profit. In the most recent period, the operating margin was higher than for ASOS, but the rival has a consistent record of profitability.

In The Style is currently valued at around three times annualised sales. Not a bargain at this level, but the momentum might continue in the short-term.


In The Style (LON: ITS)

Online womenswear retailer

Market: AIM


Flotation date: 15 March 2021

Issue price: 200p

Amount raised: £11m

Float expenses: £1.9m

Market capitalisation: £105m

Nominated adviser: Liberum

Broker: Liberum


What does it do?

Salford-based In The Style was started by Adam Frisby with an investment of £1,000 in 2013. The customer focus is women between 16 and 35 years old. The company uses female celebrities and influencers to attract customers with specially designed exclusive ranges. The company is starting to work with male influencers.

There are 79% of revenues generated via the company’s e-commerce platform with the rest coming from wholesale partners, such as ASOS and Shop Direct. There are 95% of revenues generated in the UK.

The main marketing cost is the sales commissions paid to influencers, plus associated costs of photoshoots and launch events. There is also paid search and affiliate marketing.

Up to 200 new products are offered every week on average. Around 50% of products are made in the UK. There were 706,000 active customers at the end of 2020. There are total customers of 1.6 million and 491,000 were added in 2020, helped by the company’s app and Covid-19. They are based in more than 100 countries.

There is a company warehouse in Salford and there are plans to move to a larger one later this year. E-commerce fulfilment is handled by the company and returns are outsourced to Clipper Logistics.

The strategy is to build and develop the brand, as well as adding new influencer ranges. There will also be more investment in the technology platform. There are plans for an international version of the company’s app.


Revenues increased from £17.2m to £19.3m in the year to March 2020. The move to online shopping due to Covid-19 has accelerated growth.

In The Style has been loss-making until the nine months to December 2020, when it reported a pre-tax profit of £2m on revenues of £35.4m. The operating margin was 6.5% – or more than 8% if one-off bonuses are excluded – which is higher than at ASOS. Annualised sales were £41m in 2020.

There were one-off bonuses of £519,000 and a dividend of £1.25m paid in the nine-month period, but In The Style does not intend to pay dividends as a quoted company.

There was £3.97m in the bank, offset by preference shares valued at £3.38m plus an invoice discounting facility, at the end of 2020. The flotation proceeds will be used for direct brand marketing and continued investment in technology. It will also help to finance the move to a new warehouse and into new geographic markets.  


James Sharp (Chairman)

Annual fee: £70,000

Adam Frisby (Chief executive)

Annual salary: £198,000 (+£12,000 car allowance)

Paul Masters (Finance)

Annual salary: £198,000 (+£12,000 car allowance)

Nancy Cruickshank (Senior non-exec)

Annual fee: £45,000

Adam Bellamy (Independent non-exec)

Annual fee: £45,000

Matthew Scaife (Non-exec)

Annual fee: £25,000


Since 2018, Causeway Capital had been the majority shareholder, but this stake has been reduced to 14.5% following the disposal of shares worth £32.5m.

Lombard Odier (12.8%), Premier Fund Managers (9.5%), Chelverton Asset Management (4.1%), Octopus Investments (3.9%), BMO Asset Management (3.2%) and BlackRock (3%) all became shareholders at the time of flotation.

The board owns 27.25% of In The Style. Adam Frisby reduced his stake from 38.6% to 23.1%, raising £12.1m. Masters and Sharp were the other selling shareholders raising £2m and £1.8m, respectively.  

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Andrew Hore
Andrew Hore is the publisher of AIM Journal, which is an online monthly publication covering the Alternative Investment Market.