AO World

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Public limited company
Traded as LSEAO.
Industry Online retailer
Founded 2000
Headquarters Bolton, Greater Manchester
Key people
John Roberts (Founder)
Steve Caunce (CEO)
Richard Rose (Chairman)
Revenue £599.2 million (2016)[1]
£(10.6) million (2016)[1]
£(6.1) million (2016)[1]
Website (formerly Appliances Online) is an online retailer specialising in electrical goods. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.


The company was established as Appliances Online by John Roberts (the founder and former CEO) in 2000. John was bet £1 that he could not set up his own company by a close friend, whether the winnings were collected is still unknown.[2] It also sold kitchen appliances on behalf Next, House of Fraser, B&Q and Iceland. In 2009 the company acquired the distribution business Expert Logistics enabling self-delivery of goods.[3]

In 2011, the company invested £750,000 into a video studio to produce video reviews for its Appliances Online and Appliance Reviews websites. The studio, located in Bolton, had kitchen sets, equipment and production and editing suites.[4] In 2011, the company also signed for an initial 15,000 sq ft at Bruntwood's Riverside building in Manchester, employing 100 people, with plans to increase the number of employees at Riverside to more than 300 by the end of March.[5]

In 2013 the company re-branded as[6] In October 2013 the company began selling small appliances and launched a same day delivery service.[7] In 2013 the company's Facebook page reached the milestone of over 1 million fans[8] and won a PayPal Retail award in recognition of its work on this platform.[9]

In February 2014 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange as AO World.[10] In the process, the founder John Roberts made £86m by selling 10% of the company to the public.[11] In October 2014 the company launched operations in Germany[12] and in March 2017 the company won the Retail Week Employer of the Year Award.[13]

Operations[edit] logo.png
Type of site
E-commerce website
Alexa rank Positive decrease 31,996 (December 2013)[14]
Launched 2000
Current status Active

The company now occupies 50,000sq ft offices and is based in Bolton.[15] The company was named as 63rd in the Sunday Times 'Best Companies to Work For' list in 2011, and received the award for Best Customer Service Operation at the 2011 European Call Centre & Customer Service Awards.[16] In 2012, the company was named 5th in the Sunday Times' list,[17] and in 2013 climbed to 4th, retaining this position in 2014.[18]


The company launched a new advertising campaign on 3 May 2013 to mark the rebrand of the business from Appliances Online to The first advert follows a fictional new employee called ‘Dave’ and his over-enthusiastic inductor on his first day at work. A further advert was aired showing ‘Barry Catchpole’.[19] Its adverts feature a version of the Ramones song "Blitzkrieg Bop" in which the words "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" are reinterpreted as "A.O. Let's go!".[20]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  2. ^ "- Our Story". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13.
  3. ^ "DRL acquires Expert Logistics". 22 July 2009. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Online appliance seller creates film studio to review products". The Bolton News. Media Group. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Feddy, Kevin (7 October 2011). "DRL creating hundreds of jobs at new call centre". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media.
  6. ^ "Appliances Online looking to diversify after 10 Associates , Prolific North, 2 September 2013".
  7. ^ "Sarah Vizard, Retailers that focus on price will lose out in crucial Christmas shopping period, Marketing Week, 10 Oct 2013".
  8. ^ "Graham Charlton, How Appliances Online went from 2,500 to 1m Facebook fans in just two years, Eco 21 May 2013".
  9. ^ "Appliances Online wins 3 PayPal awards for Facebook work, Huddled, 14 June 2013".
  10. ^ "Online Retailer World Surges on London Trading Debut". Bloomberg. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  11. ^ Neate, Rupert (26 February 2014). " founder makes £86m as white goods retailer floats on stock market". Retrieved 16 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
  12. ^ "AO World to launch into new European markets". Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Winners 2015 - Retail Week Awards". Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  14. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  15. ^ "Fast-growing DRL signs deal for new Bolton headquarters, Bdaily, 8 Aug 2013".
  16. ^ "Staff go the extra mile to help their customers". The Bolton News. Newsquest Media Group. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Retailer 'second best employer' in region". The Bolton News. Newsquest Media Group. 4 March 2012.
  18. ^ "'best100companies'". The Sunday Times.
  19. ^ "Ad of the Day: Appliances Online - 'Barry'". The Drum. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  20. ^ Nic Fildes (3 June 2015). "Tempus: investors look at AO and say: let's go". The Times. Retrieved 16 July 2016.

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