Asos bang on trend after European sales boost

The online retailer is going from strength to strength: its sales have soared again, thanks to some aggressive international expansion...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Can Asos do no wrong? The online fashion retailer has reported yet another strong set of results, after it turned out to be as popular among 15-34-year-old women in Europe as it is here in the UK. Sales soared by 69% to £107.3m in the three months to June 30, up from £65.8m in the same period a year earlier. This was largely due to strong international sales, which more than doubled (compared with an increase of ‘only’ 15% in the UK). And, surprise, surprise, the market has voiced its approval, with its shares rising by 4.7% - meaning that Asos’ share price has now risen by 50% during 2011. Not bad, for a company whose original USP was to help its customers dress like celebrities. Clearly there’s a lot of money in helping people look like Cheryl Cole...

The company only added its websites in the US, Germany and France last year, so it’s an impressive effort to acquire quite so much popularity quite so speedily. This helped international sales account for 57% of the total this quarter, up from 51% in the previous quarter. And the indications are that things are only going to get better: Asos is planning to launch websites in Spain and Italy shortly, while CEO Nick Robinson says Japan is on its ‘radar’. On past form, we’ve no doubt that the site will go down about as well as a half-price vintage Chanel sale over there.

Things are also going swimmingly on its home turf. Asos is already the UK’s second-largest online clothing retailer and is still growing, with 13m unique visitors (globally) a month. Having spent £12.9m on a brand new, high-tech warehouse that’s more futuristic than a pair of its lamé cropped trousers, it’s now got, as one analyst put it, ‘structural advantages’. So the company is well on its way to hitting its ambitious £1bn sales target by 2015.

Consumers have shown that if the price is right, they’re still prepared to splash out on clothes – even in more traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers. Primark (or Primarni, as we prefer to call it) has also reported strong results, with sales growing by 13%; this helped to push revenue growth at its parent company, Associated British Foods, up by 15%. That’s good news for the company, which warned earlier this year that the rising price of cotton might force up prices; by the looks of it, extra sales have helped to offset rising cotton prices. So it looks like our supply line of £5 dresses is safe - for the time being, at least.

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