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Asos saw its best ever trading in cyber week, even as it takes action to jumpstart international growth

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Sales figures released by Asos today suggest that its international growth stalled this autumn. But the fashion pureplay also said it had its biggest-ever trading week over November’s cyber weekend.

While Asos’ UK sales grew to £104.8m in the three months to November 30, up by 24% compared to the same time last year, international sales of £141.5m were up by just 4% – or down by 2% when currency fluctuations were taken into account. Overall, retail sales grew by 8%, to £246.3m, while group revenues, which also include delivery income and third party income, were up by 8% at £252.2m.

During the period, international sales made up 57% of the total, down from 63% last year, amid what chief executive Nick Robertson (pictured) described as “challenging” international trading conditions.”

The decline in international sales over the period is striking. Asos did not release a trading statement at the same time last year, but its figures for the three months to the end of December 2013 showed international sales growth of 38%, while UK sales grew by 37%, taking overall growth to 37%. In the six months to February 28 2013, the half-year that included the equivalent three months, international sales were up by 35%, and UK sales by 32% – taking total growth for the period to 34%.

The company is now tackling the international decline with zonal pricing through technology that now enables it to charge different prices for the same item in different regions. Today it said it would invest £6.3m already received from its insurers after a fire in June in its Barnsley logistics centre, to speed up its investment in international pricing. The insurance income, it said, will mean full-year profits are in line with expectations.

Nick Robertson, chief executive, said: “Total retail sales for the quarter grew by 8% (12% on a constant currency basis). September and October were challenging as we completed the automation programme in Barnsley in time for peak. Our sales have since gathered momentum and we had our biggest ever trading week over cyber weekend in November.”

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