By Elizabeth Anderson Thursday, 17 January 2013

What retail crisis? Asos toasts bumper Christmas

Sales jumped 41% in December at the online fashion powerhouse, smashing sales taken a year earlier.

High street retailers got some relief from last minute shoppers over the Christmas period, but fashion giant Asos proved today that online retailers are faring better in tempting squeezed shoppers to spend.

Asos, which targets twenty-somethings hoping to emulate the style of celebrities like Nicole Scherzinger and Cheryl Cole, said global retail sales in December hit £78.1m, a 41% rise on the year before.

Of that increase, sales jumped 57% in the US and 42% elsewhere, and rose 32% to £35.6m in Britain, a better-than-expected result in its home market compared to the £26.6m taken in Christmas 2011. Asos said two million orders were dispatched last month and it had 5.6m active customers on December 31, 2012 an increase of 40% year-on-year.

‘We remain positive in our outlook for 2012/13 as we continue our journey to becoming the number one online fashion destination for twenty-somethings, globally,’ chief executive Nick Robertson said.

Asos’ success contrasts with the fortunes of many high street retailers who have struggled to compete with cheaper prices online, falling footfall and rising business rates. In the last week Jessops, HMV and Blockbusters have gone into administration. Another 140 UK retailers are in a ‘critical’ condition, estimates business recovery specialist Begbies Traynor.

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