Out-of-this-world growth for MorphCostumes

Surge in demand for alien costumes boosts growth for Edinburgh-based fancy dress supplier

EDINBURGH-headquartered fancy dress supplier MorphCostumes is expecting e-commerce sales to almost double following its acquisition of Fun Shack earlier this year. Alongside new products from the acquisition, the growth is being driven by a 30 per cent growth in like for like e-commerce revenues.

The news comes as the manufacturer and online fancy dress retailer behind the legendary Morphsuit gears up for Halloween – the period which generates around 60 per cent of its global annual sales.

This increase in sales is on top of the growth shown in their latest published accounts. The company – which is backed by BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing companies – reported revenue of £12.4M for the year ended November 2018, up from £9.3M and profit before tax of £1M up from £352k. 

It is seeing a surge in sales of both adults and kids alien costumes following the recent Storm Area 51 internet buzz and memes.  As well as its alien costumes, MorphCostumes’ most popular outfits for Halloween incudes its range of zombies, skeletons and monsters.

According to research by Mintel, the British public was forecasted to spend a staggering £419 million on Halloween in 2018, up 5 per cent from £400M the previous year.  Halloween is now the UK’s third-biggest event (after Christmas and Easter) in terms of consumer spending.

MorphCostumes’ main markets are the UK and US, as well as Australia and Canada.

In the US, a report by the National Retail Federation estimates that consumer spending will reach $8.8 billion in 2019.

Brothers Fraser and Ali Smeaton founded AFG Media, MorphCostumes’ parent company, in 2009 with Gregor Lawson after a night out that inspired the invention of the world’s first Morphsuit, a head-to-toe spandex fancy dress outfit that has grown into an international phenomenon. It has now expanded into 29 countries.

Gregor Lawson, co-founder and sales and marketing director at AFG Media, the company behind MorphCostumes, said: “The Fun Shack acquisition has had a very positive impact on our business. We’ve integrated their products into our range successfully. When their products have been combined with our expertise in international e-commerce sales it has led to direct to consumer growth rates that could top 100 per cent.

“This is great news as we get ready for Halloween, our busiest sales period of the year. We’ve already seen a huge interest in alien costumes, and we are confident of reporting further growth in 2019.” 

BGF originally invested £4.2m in AFG Media in June 2012 to help the company expand its range of costumes and grow overseas sales. BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner, providing long-term patient capital to growing businesses across the UK and Ireland. Set up in 2011, BGF is now the world’s most active investor in growth/expansion businesses.

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