Today’s quarterly results from Asos paint a two-sided picture. On the one hand its UK business is still growing well. Thanks to the consumer maelstrom that was Black Friday, its domestic sales in the three months to November jumped 24% year-on-year to £105m - not bad for a well-established business that’s had mixed results of late.
‘Black Friday was our biggest day we have ever had,’ its chief executive, Nick Robertson, told the FT. ‘At one point we were taking seven orders per second.’ He added that ‘cyber weekend’ had helped deliver the company’s ‘biggest ever trading week’.
Unfortunately for Asos, as with many exporters, the strong pound has been a drag on its overseas ambitions. International sales fell by 2% to £142m, driven particularly by sales outside of the EU and the US, which slumped 6%. Its worst performance was in Russia, where the falling value of the rouble meant prices were effectively as much as 40% higher than the same time last year.
Asos has taken some steps to address this problem though, starting with ‘zonal pricing’, which will allow it to adjust prices depending on local market conditions. Poor international performance dragged total sales growth down to 8%, which wasn’t welcome news for investors. Shares dipped 6% to 2,235.5p this morning.
Its booming UK business looks back on track despite the fire at its Barnsley warehouse, for which it today announced it had received a £6.3m insurance payout. If it can just crack its international strategy then perhaps Asos can get its shares back in fashion again.