Asos defies downturn to make sales gains in UK and overseas

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ASOS cheered investors with accelerating sales growth in the UK over the summer, helping boost its shares 1.8 per cent yesterday.

The online fashion retailer brushed off the malaise seen on the British high street to report 15 per cent growth in UK takings to £49.9m for the three months to 31 August.

This takes domestic sales to £205.3m for the financial year – giving an annual growth rate of 10 per cent.

Asos said international sales were also rising at a blistering pace, though this expansion slowed slightly in the final quarter. For the year, international sales soared 64 per cent to £332.6m, aided by a near-doubling of turnover in the US.

Europe lagged behind, however, with a relatively paltry 29 per cent rise in annual sales to £117.7m.

“Our sales performance in those markets where we have a website continue to outperform,” said chief executive Nick Robertson. “Despite investing in our pricing, I’m pleased to say that our retail gross margin improved by 70 basis points over the period.”

Panmure Gordon analyst Jean Roche said Asos had been “particularly impressive” for keeping up growth in Britain amid a slump across many bricks and mortar retailers.

Asos now has more than 5m active customers worldwide, a rise of 35 per cent on a year ago.

Profits for the financial year are set to be in line with expectations, and the firm said it has “continued confidence” in the coming year.