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Asos’s global growth to continue as annual sales soar


Online fashion house is planning to expand its international reach further in the 12 months ahead following an impressive set of results for the year to March 31st 2011.

Launching websites in France, Germany and the US helped the e-retailer increase retail sales 58 per cent year-on-year to £324.1 million, with international markets growing 142 per cent during that time to contribute £140 million to the overall total. Three new territories are being eyed for the year ahead.

Saturation point in the UK is still someway off too, with UK retail trade jumping 25 per cent to £184 million.

Gross profit before tax for the group was up 41 per cent compared to 2009/10, ending the year at £131.7 million.

Nick Robertson, CEO of Asos, commented: “I am pleased to report another successful year for Asos.

“We have continued our investment programme to meet anticipated growth targets - key to this is the ongoing transition to a new 530,000 sq ft warehouse in Barnsley, which will be fully operational by June 2011.”

Indeed, an exceptional charge of £12.9 million has been taken during the year to reflect the direct costs of the switch from the company’s Hemel Hemstead warehouses to South Yorkshire, meaning profits would have been even greater had Asos opted to delay plans for further growth.

Robertson added: “We remain positive in our outlook for 2012 and are excited by the opportunities for both our UK and international businesses.”

Asos’s significant progress represents one of the major UK retail success stories of the last 12 months and proves that consumers are willing to spend their money when the sales offer is right, despite budgets being increasingly squeezed.

With a predominantly younger customer base, who have fewer financial concerns than older demographics, the fashion retailer has been able to increase the items it has for sale from 36,000 to 50,000 and see sales rocket as a result.

This inventory rises further when its online collaborations with other brands, Asos Marketplace and Asos Fashion Finder, are added to the mix.

Over the course of the year retail gross margin improved by 100bps, but, as anticipated due to increased investement in free shipping and returns, overall gross margin was down 300bps to 38.8 per cent.

Today’s statement said: “For the time being we will continue to use free delivery and returns in a planned and budgeted manner, but over time we aim to use it as part of the ongoing service proposition once the business’ scale can support it.”

Published on Thursday 02 June by Editorial Assistant

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