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ASOS moves towards becoming ‘global’ fashion player

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Online women’s fashion retailer ASOS says it now boasts a “global pool of fashion followers”. Today it said it was making good progress in the international markets that now account for 37% of its total sales.

Since September 2010 it has launched new standalone sites in the US, France and Germany and now ships to a total of 195 countries from its UK distribution centre. They include Australia and Ireland, where according to Comscore, the company is already number one in its market.

Total group sales rose by 50% to £131.4m in the first half of the year, to September 30. International sales were up by 120% to £48.97m and UK sales up by 26% to £82.4m. Group profits rose by 43% to £57.9m, including £35.4m from the UK, up by 18%, and £22.4m from international sales, a 113% rise.

In its first half results, published today, the retailer said: “ASOS is embarking on a new journey from online store to a global fashion destination. The purpose of this is to drive incremental traffic and therefore extra sales through the ASOS website.”

The company said that it remained positive about the outlook for the future. As a business it no longer relied on the UK customers but on customers around the world. That meant “softer comparatives” in the UK would be complemented by “strong international growth, adequate stock levels and well-managed costs” to give second-half growth in line with market expectations.

The company unveiled two new platforms, ASOS Marketplace, and ASOS Fashion Finder. Small boutiques, designers and customers can sell their fashion products via Marketplace, while Fashion Finder will offer brands that ASOS might not sell. “Both of these will give customers even more reason to visitor ASOS and allow us to monetise areas of the fashion internet not previously available to us,” said the company.

To support the expansion in sales a new distribution warehouse is set to open in Barnsley in the spring of next year, with an initial sales capacity of £600m, and potential to house £1bn of sales.

Other innovations include the introduction of mobile commerce, now accounting for 3% of all its traffic, and the introduction of returns to Collect + convenience stores, of which there are 3,500 in the UK.

Nick Robertson, ASOS chief executive, said: “In anticipation of our continued strong growth we have maintained our programme of investment, specifically around our resource, logistics and technical capabilities.

“As we head into the important third quarter trading period we remain positive about the outlook for the second half and expect our full-year results to be in line with market expectations.”

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