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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 1. Nick Beighton, CEO, Asos

Nick Beighton has rocketed to first place in the Top 100, after leading Asos in an outstanding year. Despite increased competition from etailers such as Boohoo and Missguided, not to mention a raft of new online upstarts, Asos has maintained its position as the market leader.

Retail sales soared by 34% to £1.87bn on a reported basis for the year to 31 August 2017, while gross profit for the year was up 33% on 2016, to £958.3m. In November, the etailer overtook high street stalwart Marks & Spencer in market value.

Being stocked on Asos remains the holy grail for many brands. It had 15.4 million active customers in the year to 31 August – up 24% on the previous year. The etailer, which stocks around 850 third-party brands, introduced athleisure in January and launched its first own-brand range of beauty and grooming products in September.

Beighton has been a vocal supporter of UK manufacturing, and is lobbying the government to support the industry’s resurgence.

A trained accountant, Beighton took over the CEO role in 2015 and is an advocate for preserving the company’s start-up culture, despite its size. To accommodate 1,500 new recruits over the next three years, Asos is in the process of expanding into an extra 40,000 sq ft, taking its head office in Camden, London, to 250,000 sq ft.

Meanwhile, the etailer has ramped up its investment in technology. At the start of the year, it completed the rollout of a new digital platform, allowing the introduction of visual search, same-day delivery, a chatbot service and a try-before-you-buy initiative. This is just the tip of the iceberg at a business that refuses to slow down.

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