Online retailer Asos surprises analysts with sales boost

Fashion retailer shakes off profit warning after strong Black Friday season sees sales recover


British-based online fashion retailer Asos reported strong sales in the last four months of 2019. Overall sales rose 20 per cent to £1.1bn (€1.3bn, £1.44bn), beating analysts' predictions of a 15 per cent rise.

International sales, which now account for 62 per cent of group retail revenue, rose by 21 per cent in the rest of the EU and 23 per cent elsewhere, including the US. The company said it had made invested significantly in trying to gain more customers in the US and EU. UK sales were also up by 18 per cent.

Asos puts its success, after a difficult year in which it posted a profits warning, down to good Black Friday figures with 27.7 million orders in the final four months of 2019 and website visitor numbers up by 23 per cent.

Black Friday 2018 marked the start of a bad run for Asos after it admitted getting the pre-Christmas flash sale wrong by underestimating rivals' prices. Last July it issued a profits warning after problems at its US and European warehouses meant some stock was unavailable.

CEO Nick Beighton said the latest performance was encouraging but there was more work to be done. He said: “The actions we took to rebuild customer momentum during the peak trading period delivered a better than expected sales performance largely driven by the Black Friday weekend.”

Asos, he added, had also improved product choice, stock availability, presentation and social media engagement.

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