ASOS bucks the retail gloom as revenue jumps

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES IN ASOS rallied more than 10 per cent yesterday after the fast-growing online fashion retailer outshone its bricks-and-mortar peers and posted a 31 per cent rise in first-quarter sales.

The internet shopping site targeted at fashionable 20-somethings said trading was buoyed by a strong performance in the United States and Australia as well as signs of improvement in the UK.

Sales in its home market rose by eight per cent in the three months to 30 June, which chief executive Nick Robertson described as “encouraging” given the current economic climate.

UK consumer spending has been dented by fears of rising unemployment, lacklustre growth in wages and government austerity measures.

However, the overall retail picture was brighter in June, as the Queen’s Jubilee holiday helped boost British retail sales.

International sales grew by 49 per cent and now represent 65 per cent of the group’s total, up from 57 per cent last year.

US sales surged 83 per cent – ahead of City forecasts – while sales in the EU rose 27 per cent and sales in the rest of the world, predominantly Australia, were up 61 per cent in the first quarter.

“We remain positive in our outlook, and continue to trade in line with expectations,” said Robertson, who founded the company 12 years ago and was made an OBE in the Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honours List.

The group has benefited from the launch of country specific sites in Australia, Spain and Italy and the opening of a new, larger warehouse in Barnsley last year.

As at the end of June, ASOS had 8.7m registered users, up 50 per cent year-on-year, with 4.7m active customers, up 34 per cent year-on-year.