In a bumper year for the clothing retailer, sales rose 49% to £495m, which includes modest growth of 7% in the UK, but international sales growth of 103%. Profits before tax doubled to £30.3m, with underlying profit (there it is again) of £40.1m. The company is enjoying massive growth in Europe and especially China, where Western fashion has captured the consumer imagination. Nick Robertson, the company’s founder and CEO, stands to do well out of the gains, as he and other management figures bought into an incentive scheme three years ago which is now set to pay out.
When the scheme was set up, the company had a market capitalisation of £219m, but this has increased to £1.17bn and now makes the shares worth almost six times as much. Robertson’s personal windfall from the share award will be valued at £24.4m, and will be granted in two batches – September 2012, and September 2013.
Robertson founded the website in 2001 selling clothes inspired by TV and movie stars, and the name stands for As Seen On Screen. It was a cottage start-up with some family money and investment of some outside investors, but now, 11 years later, Robertson is the CEO of company whose sales are mostly abroad. Yesterday, shares in the company closed up 119p to £16.41.
Despite the success of the company, however, Robertson told the Daily Telegraph that his ‘core customer base in the UK, twentysomethings’ is being stifled by the lack of overdrafts and access to credit. Asos is yet another example of a British-based company dealing with stagnation in the UK, by pushing for explosive growth in international and emerging markets…