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Asos sales rise at home and away

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Strong international sales helped online fashion retailer ASOS to buck the market and post a 35% rise in sales in its last financial year, it said today. After conservative planning last year, the trader is looking forward with “considerably more confidence,” said chief executive Nick Robertson.

In a trading statement ahead of its closed period, Asos said UK sales had risen by 23% while international sales were up by 101%. International sales account for 28% of its total sales, where its strongest markets are, in order, the US, Denmark, France, Australia, Ireland and German. US, French and German websites are to open in the coming year.

Chief executive Nick Robertson said: “The year was characterized by more conservative planning, specifically around stock levels, a focus on operational and financial controls and the introduction of key customer initiatives such as free returns.”

Since the end of the financial year, sales have started to rise still faster. In the 19 days to April 19, retail sales were up by 56%, including a 25% rise for the UK and a lift of 148% internationally.

Mr Robertson said: “We are approaching this year with considerably more confidence. Demand for our spring/summer ranges have been very strong and the internet continues to outperform the other retail channels.”

The online retailer said profits would be in line with market expectations. Analysts have pencilled in profits of around £20m, up from £14m the previous year.

The full-year results will be announced on June 9 2010.

Our view: Last week we reported on the BDO High Street Sales Tracker that showed online fashion sales “exceptionally buoyant” but down on the high street by 2.4%, in the week to April 16. This update from Asos further builds up the picture of shoppers increasingly willing to shop for clothes online. Innovations such as the free returns adopted by Asos during the year must be part of the reason why it’s now taking off.

Photo: ASOS

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