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Asos 'back on track' after record Black Friday

Asos has reported a 20% year-on-year rise in total group revenues to £1.1bn for the four months to 31 December 2019, as a result of a “record Black Friday” and strong customer engagement. 

UK retail sales jumped by 18% to £409m and European Union retail sales rose by 22% to £333m, while US retail sales increased by 20% to £140m. Total international retail sales were £666m, up from £547m the year before (22%). 

Total orders for the period were up 20% to 27.7 million, supported by “robust operational performance” at all of the etailer’s distribution centres.

Traffic to the Asos website rose 23% year on year, representing an increase of 1.4 million active customers during period. 

The company said in a statement: ”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.

“We made good progress against the clear priorities we set out for the 2019/20 financial year, including improvements in product choice and stock availability; presentation and social media engagement; and optimising customer acquisition and reactivation.

“However, there is still much work to be done to capitalise on this encouraging start as we begin to cycle the improvements we made in the prior year in terms of presentation and customer engagement.

“Our plans and outlook for the year therefore remain unchanged as we continue to focus on the actions required to support our long-term growth and the retention of those customers we have recently acquired.”

“Asos has delivered an encouraging start to the year,” Nick Beighton, Asos CEO, commented.

”Strong customer acquisition activity supported by robust operational performance has driven good momentum in all our markets. As we said in October, the focus for this year is to further enhance our capabilities and leverage the investments we have made. It is still early in the year and much remains to be done, but we are encouraged by the progress we have made so far. We remain confident in our ability to capture the substantial opportunity ahead of us.”

Richard Lim, CEO of Retail Economics, said: “These figures show that the retailer is back on track. They effectively leveraged their vast reach on social media to gain strong traction heading into Black Friday and the Christmas period. Past investments in digital and logistics infrastructure improved their range and availability, showing early signs that it’s beginning to pay off.

“It abundantly clear that Black Friday has become critical in retailers’ success over the festive period. Savvy shoppers are bringing forward their purchases to take advantage of discounts for their Christmas shopping. This favours retailers with sophisticated online propositions and the operational capacity to cope with these peaks in demand.

“Spending is also concentrated across fewer categories – apparel, electricals and toys – and has shifted towards online, allowing the best-in-class retailers in this space to benefit.

“Following the enormous operational disruption over the last year or so, it appears the business has resolved these challenges and is in a strong position to leverage its global platform.”

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