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Asos to open China, Russia sites within year

Asos will be opening local language sites in China and Russia within the next year, Nick Robertson has confirmed.

Speaking with Drapers this morning ahead of the etailer’s analyst conference, chief executive Robertson said the “technical capability issues” preventing a launch into the two territories had been now resolved.

“By this time next year, Asos will be in China and Russia,” he said.

“Those two markets combined already represent 7% of our business – we already have a sizeable customer base there, so this is just building on that.”

Robertson also rejected any rumours that Amazon may be eyeing Asos as an acquisition. “I haven’t spoken to [Amazon] for three years,” he said.

But he went on to give more detail about Kate Bostock’s role when she arrives at the business as executive director of product and trading in January.

“She is the most senior retailer in the business, so she won’t get involved in choosing product,” Roberston said. “We see her coming and making us better at the sorts of things we haven’t been – sourcing, supply chain, quality – and all the other bits around it. It’s reflecting the fact we are now a big retailer.”

Robertson added: “My pedigree is not in retail – it’s more in the internet and marketing – so it’s appropriate for a retailer of our size to hire someone like that, who can take us through the next five years.”

Analysts gave a muted response to the etailer’s results – primarily because they covered only a five month period – with no changes to recommendations.

Independent Nick Bubb said the figures “look fine”.

John Stevenson at Peel Hunt, who has the stock on a hold recommendation, said he was “positive on the medium-term outlook” but saw “limited upgrade opportunities over the coming year”.

Sanjay Vidyarthi at Espirito Santo however said that absence of a bid meant he “struggled to justify the current valuation”.

However Robertson dismissed this, emphasising the global opportunities remaining to Asos. “We haven’t opened the door to 98% of the global population who happen to live outside the UK. The UK represents 3% of global internet traffic. I’d be surprised if the UK wasn’t sub-10% of the business in five years.”

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