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This penny stock is putting Boohoo and ASOS to shame! Time to buy?

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I think it’s fair to say that 2021 has been a pretty awful year for holders of fast-fashion giants Boohoo and ASOS, both having now halved in value. To make matters worse, an under-the-radar penny stock operating in the same space has been absolutely flying! What is this mystery retailer and should I be taking a stake?

Fast fashion multi-bagger

The penny stock in question is Sosander (LSE: SOS). Providing “a one-stop online shop for style-conscious women who have graduated from price-led alternatives”, the company also boasts brand partnerships with FTSE 100 firm Next, FTSE 250 member Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis. Just like the aforementioned Boohoo and ASOS, Sosander makes full use of data analysis to gauge which products it should prioritise and the best ways of reaching its target audience. 

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Despite only being around since 2016, the company was listed on AIM only a year later. Performance since then has been somewhat erratic. For example, the share price went from 45p in September 2018 to just above 5p when the first UK lockdown was announced. However, anyone brave enough to buy this penny stock back when the chips were down will have done extremely well. Since March 2020, the valuation has climbed roughly 560%!

Based on today’s half-year numbers, I think there could be even more upside ahead.

Sales soar at this penny stock

At £12.2m, revenue rocketed no less than 184% in the six months to the end of September. To put this in perspective, that’s more than in the whole of the previous financial year. Gross profit came in at £6.9m — up more than 200% — and gross margin hit a superb 56.5%.

Other positives include the number of active customers over the six months soaring by 41% to over 191,000. This suggests that co-CEOs Ali Hall and Julie Lavington have got their marketing strategy spot on. 

Like many penny stocks, Sosander remains loss-making. However, an EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) loss of just under £1m is lower than the £1.02m seen last year. In other words, things are going in the right direction. In fact, the Wilmslow-based business revealed that it was EBITDA positive in both October and November as shoppers snapped up partywear, outerwear, and knitwear. 

No sure thing

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sosander stated that it was trading ahead of current analyst expectations for the full year. Unfortunately, the share price is barely up as I type. I think this is most likely due to traders being caught off guard by suggestions that existing vaccines may not be all that effective against the new Covid-19 variant. On another day, the reaction might have been a lot different.

Even so, it’s worth bearing in mind that Sosander is hardly a risk-free proposition. Although the company had seen “no material impact” from supply chain disruption so far, things could easily get worse before they get better. I’m also minded to remember that, pandemic or not, the £75m cap operates in a highly competitive industry where, I imagine, brand loyalty is increasingly hard to secure.

My verdict

No one can say for sure what will happen next with Covid-19. As promising penny stocks go, however, this is definitely one I’ll be adding to my watchlist. If general market sentiment dips again over December, I may just need to make room for Sosander in my portfolio.

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Paul Summers owns shares in boohoo group. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ASOS and boohoo group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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