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Asos boss: ‘UK robust despite slowdown concerns’

Asos customers have not been deterred from shopping by the slowdown in the UK and global economy, said chief executive Nick Beighton, but the business will continue to invest in lower prices to continue its sales momentum.

Nick Beighton

Nick Beighton

Nick Beighton

Asos’s pre-tax profit increased by 18% to £21.2m for the six months to February 29 compared to the same period last year, while group revenues were up 21% to £667.3m. UK retail sales rose 25% to £289.5m and international retail sales were up 18% to £359.1m.

“We had a very strong performance with the business performing well across the globe, but the UK in particular had a robust performance”, said Beighton.

“I’m always concerned by anything that effects our customer but we haven’t seen a drop in our 20-something customer. However we are continuing to invest in our prices and to improve delivery and lower the cost of delivery.”

Beighton said the website’s bestselling products in the UK included “muscle-fit” T-shirts and shirts and longline sweatshirts. The firm’s bridal range, launched in March, is also performing well.

He said he was unconcerned by Amazon’s latest push into the fashion arena: “Amazon is a formidable force and its expansion into fashion will disrupt lots of retailers.

”Our 20-something demographic is in a slightly different segment as they are purely fashion focused [so won’t be affected as much]. Amazon will expand ecommerce expectations and that will benefit those who have a good offer [like us].”

Last week Asos announced it was discontinuing its operations in China at the cost of £10m and the loss of 60 jobs. Beighton said the money will be reinvested in its US, European and Australian offer.

“We withdrew from our China operations as we wanted to put capital into markets where we have opportunities waiting for us. We want to keep our UK customer experience hot and we’ll be expanding in the EU and building into the US and investing in Australia.

“In the US we are about to lower prices further and enhance our delivery service from six days to four, as well as building up our warehouse capability.”

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