Asos profit estimated at top end

online fashion firm ASOS said full year profit was likely to be towards the top end of expectations after a jump in fourth quarter sales.

The fast-growing firm said retail sales increased 70 per cent to £93.4m in the three months to 31 March, its fiscal fourth quarter.

That compares with a rise of 59 per cent in its third quarter.

UK sales increased 24 per cent to £44.9m, while international sales soared 161 per cent to £48.4m, helped by the introduction of United States, French and German websites in October 2010.

The firm reported a small increase in the full-year retail gross margin, in line with guidance.

ASOS targets internet-savvy 16 to 34-year-old women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Alexa Chung, but at a fraction of the price, and enjoyed soaring sales throughout the recent recession.

While many retailers have struggled against tough macro headwinds, ASOS has prospered, benefiting from a young core customer base and the migration of spending from the high street to the Internet.

"We have approached the new financial year with confidence and are excited about the prospects for both our UK and international businesses," said Chief Executive Nick Robertson.

Shares in ASOS have more than trebled over the last year, fuelled by buoyant trading and speculation the firm could attract a bid from companies as diverse as Danish shareholder and supplier Bestseller, U.S. internet giant Amazon and British retailers Marks & Spencer and Tesco.