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Asos fire means it misses £1bn sales milestone

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Asos today revealed full-year sales figures that showed it had missed its £1bn target for the year thanks to the fire that stopped operations in June and cost it between £25m and £30m in lost sales.

The fashion pureplay turned in sales of £975.5m in the year to August 31, £24.5m short of a target it had been on course to hit until fire broke out in its Barnsley warehouse over the midsummer weekend of June 20.

Nick Robertson, chief executive, said in today’s fourth quarter trading update that full-year profit would be in line with expectations, thanks to the business’ insurance cover, and set his sights firmly on the next target. “We remain focussed on the long term opportunity for ASOS, with £2.5bn of sales as our next staging post,” he said.

Stephen Mader, of Kantar Retail, said: “Ironically, ASOS missed the anticipated £1bn mark by the same £25m-£30m in lost revenue attributed to the distribution centre fire earlier this quarter.”

During the year retail sales grew by 27%, with UK sales up by 35% and international sales by 22%. In the fourth quarter alone, which included the warehouse fire, total sales grew by 15% to £240m, while international sales were up by 6% at £141.7m and UK sales grew by 33% to £98.3m. In the year to August 31, international sales made up 59% of total sales, and in the final quarter, they accounted for 61% of the total. Customer numbers grew by a quarter to 8.8m by year end.

Our view: Retail sales growth of 15% in a quarter would represent strong growth for most retailers. For Asos, it follows the setback of its warehouse fire: a fact that can’t fail to impress for how quickly the company recovered from what could have spelt disaster.

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