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ASOS one of the ‘most visited fashion retail websites on the planet’

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Online fashion retailer ASOS today claimed a place at the online retail’s top table, saying it was among “the top five most visited fashion retail websites on the planet” on a daily basis.

The company, which today reported its full-year results to March 31, said it saw 13m unique visitors a month and, at March 31, had 5.3m registered users while 3.2m customers from 160 countries who had shopped in the last year.

It plans to capitalise on its international appeal by launching three new foreign websites in the year ahead. In the year just gone, it reported a 41% jump in top-line pre-tax profits and a 58% rise in total retail sales. But shares in the company this morning dipped by 7.85% to 183.5p, by 10am, as the costs of investment in new warehousing knocked bottom-line pre-tax profits by £4.6m, or 23%.

The company stayed upbeat, however, promising it was on track to deliver £1bn in sales by 2015. Growth overseas, where the company’s business grew by 142% in the year and now account for more than 50% of sales, was “the key driver of growth” but UK growth, at 25%, was still strong.

Over the year the company launched ASOS Marketplace, ASOS Fashion Finder and ASOS Mobile. It also claimed a market first with the launch of Europe’s first transactional Facebook shop.

It now offers 50,000 items for sale, up from 36,000 last time and boasts a growing range of its own-label brand, which now includes ASOS Reclaimed and ASOS White.

Chief executive Nick Robertson said: “”Our International expansion programme remains firmly on track with International retail sales up 142% on last year. During the year we launched country specific sites in the USA, France and Germany and we plan to launch three further country specific sites in the coming financial year.

“We have continued our investment programme to meet anticipated growth targets. Key to this is the ongoing transition to a new 530,000 sq ft warehouse in Barnsley, which will be fully operational by June 2011.

“We remain positive in our outlook for 2012 and are excited by the opportunities for both our UK and international businesses.”

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items rose to £28.6m, from £20.3m at the same time last year, though consolidation of delivery operations to a new warehouse cost £12.9m, reducing bottom-line pre-tax profits by £4.6m or 23% to £15.7m, from £20.3m last time.

The last financial year saw the company launch new websites in the US, France and Germany. It now plans to launch three more during the current year.

The company said one of its strategic aims was to offer free delivery and returns. Until the business’ scale could support that, however, it planned to use the proposition in a “planned and budgeted manner”.

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