// Asos revenues jumped 24% in the six months to the end of February to £1.98bn
// Half-year pre-tax profits soared 253% to £106.4m
// Sales in the UK was up 39%, compared with growth of 18% in the EU and 16% in the US
Asos has revealed that sales and profits soared during its first half period as bricks-and-mortar stores endured lockdowns and other restrictions.
Revenues at the online fashion retailer jumped 24 per cent year-on-year to £1.98 billion in the six months to the end of February, while half-year pre-tax profits skyrocketed 253 per cent to £106.4 million.
Asos said it benefited particularly from strong UK sales during the period – which covered the a brief lockdown in November in England and Wales, the subsequent tiering system and the current UK-wide lockdown.
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High street fashion rivals have been unable to open their doors throughout 2021 so far, but will be allowed to welcome back customers from next Monday in England and Wales.
In the UK, Asos half-year sales were up 39 per cent year-on-year to £800.4 million, compared with 18 per cent in the EU, 16 per cent in the US and 16 per cent in the rest of the world.
“Overall we saw a net Covid-19 tailwind of £48.5 million – a benefit which we expect to reverse once we see restrictions lifted on the hospitality and tourism sectors,” Asos said.
The integration of the Topshop brands, which Asos bought out of administration earlier this year, is also progressing to plan, the online giant said.
It added that it has remained flexible in responding to demands for “lockdown” products, as sales of formal and outfits for social events remained low.
Instead, shoppers turned to “activewear” and “casualwear” categories.
However, profit margins fell during the period by 200 basis points – or two per cent – due to increased freight and duty costs, alongside foreign exchange rate movements going against the company.
Asos bosses said they hope to be in a strong position, ready to capitalise on “event-led” products, when social restrictions ease.
“We believe the shift to online retail as a result of the pandemic and the accelerating consolidation of offline retail has increased consumer confidence in shopping online,” Asos said.
“In the coming months we expect a portion of consumer demand will move back to stores as restrictions are eased throughout our markets, but we expect online penetration to remain structurally higher than pre Covid-19 levels.”
Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said: “We are delighted with our exceptional first-half performance and proud of the work our teams have put in to achieve this.
“These record results, which include robust growth in sales, customer numbers and profitability, demonstrate the significant progress we have made against all of our strategic priorities and the strength of our execution capability.
“The swift integration of the Topshop brands and the impressive early customer engagement is also especially pleasing.
“Looking ahead, while we are mindful of the short-term uncertainty and potential economic consequences of the continuing pandemic, we are confident in the momentum we have built, and excited about delivering on our ambition of being the number one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings.”
with PA Wires