Thursday 12 January 2017 8:46 am

Asos sales jumped during a record Christmas trading period

Asos remains decidedly en vogue, after it hiked guidance following a record Christmas trading period.

The figures

It's all coming up roses for Asos (in this case, roses embroidered down the side of a button-down denim mini).

The online retailer reported a 36 per cent jump in retail sales to £605.7m in the four months to the end of December, which pushed group revenue up 36 per cent to £621.3m (30 per cent higher on a constant currency basis).

UK sales rose 18 per cent to £244m, while international retail sales rose 52 per cent to £361.7m, pushed up by a whopping 66 per cent rise in US sales, which rose to £82.7m and a 49 per cent rise in EU sales, which hit £165.8m. Did someone say "Brexit"?

The company said more customers are spending more, with active customers rising 25 per cent during the period, and their average basket value rising two per cent.

All of that caused it to hike guidance for full-year growth in 2017 to 25 to 30 per cent

Not surprisingly, shares rose two per cent to 5,500p as the market opened – although they later fell, dropping one per cent in the first minutes of trading. 

Why it's interesting

With aggressive expansion plans, Asos has quickly become a bellwether for UK retail exporters. And with the pound at its weakest in months, it looks like its aggressive international expansion was a good decision.

We already knew things were going well for the company: in October it reported a 26 per cent jump in sales in the year to the end of August, while last month it said it was creating 1,500 new jobs at its Camden headquarters

But Asos added today it experienced record sales over "cyber weekend", the weekend after Thanksgiving in the US which has now infected the UK's retail market, and Christmas. 

The only blot on the landscape were figures published today by Kantar Worldpanel which showed the fashion market is on its steepest decline in seven years, with £700m wiped off its value since last year. So British retailers should brace themselves. 

What Asos said

Chief executive Nick Beighton said:

Following record sales over Cyber weekend and the Christmas trading period, I'm pleased to report a strong start to the year. A 50 per cent plus increase in international sales is a standout performance. UK sales growth at 18 per cent was a strong performance in a more promotional market.

With sales for the year now expected to be up by 25 to 30 per cent, we're accelerating our infrastructure investment to handle that growth. Asos remains well set to meet its longer-term ambitions as a result of the hard work and commitment of the team.

In short

Strong results for a company whose international gamble has paid off thanks to the weak pound.