Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Timeline: Asos's path to etail dominance

Asos.com, which first launched in June 2000 under the full name As Seen On Screen, by partners Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths. James Hart was brought in as the business’s first employee. This week it has undergone a shake-up of its senior management as co-founder Nick Robertson today stepped down from the position of CEO. Chief operating officer Nick Beighton has been promoted to replace him. Drapers takes a look at the 15-year-old company’s key moments over the last decade.

Asos website

2000

Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths launched As Seen On Screen with just 30 products on the site. James Hart also joined as a director. In October the company rebranded as the abbreviated Asos.com.

2001

Asos was admitted to AIM on the London Stock Exchange, floating at 20p a share and valuing the company at £12m.

2004

The etailer introduced its own-label womenswear line and made its maiden profit of £120,000 with sales up 71% to £7m.

2005

Asos suffered a fire at its Hemel Hempstead distribution centre in early January, which closed business for six weeks. In the same year, it launched its own cosmetics line Asos Beauty.

Asos was named Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards - the first of seven awards it has scooped over the last decade at the annual event.

2006

The Asos Magazine was launched to boost sales after its 2.5% share price drop at the end of the previous year, following a net loss of £120,000 which was attributed in part to the company’s need to move into a new warehouse.

Asos was named Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards.

2007

The etailer launched an ethical capsule collection to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight. The small range featured jeans and jerseys made with fairtrade products and organic dyes.

2008

Gary Mudie was hired as Asos’s new IT director from Paperchase, to help the brand create a new and more intelligent website that would be better tailored to their customers’ preferences.

The Fashion Enter initiative, a resource to help up and coming designers, was also launched in May of this year. It came as the company added 14 more independent fashion labels to its site such as Belles of London.

Own-brand maternitywear was introduced covering loungewear to party dresses.

2009

Asos promoted its finance director Joel Kalamuddin to the role of international director, enabling Nick Beighton to take on the job of finance director. Ex-Tiscali CEO Mary Turner was appointed to its board of directors later in the year.

Both Little Asos and The Green Room were launched this year. Respectively, the two sections of the site offer childrenswear and brands with an ethically sourced background.

Asos was named Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards.

2010

Asos Marketplace, an online platform promoting small and independent retailers, went live. This followed announcements that the company would offer free worldwide standard shipping for all items over the Christmas period.

The etailer launched its US site in September, adding to the 167 markets it catered to already. As part of the launch it offered free shipping for all orders.

Plus-size brand Asos Curve, offering sizes 20 – 26, was first unveiled.

2011

The company launched its first app following an 800% increase year on year in mobile revenue.

German retailer Anson’s takes Asos to court over claims that the two brands’ similar names could cause confusion for customers. The Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled in favour of Asos in late 2014.

Asos secured the title of Larger Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards.

Asos has embraced zonal pricing

2012

The etailer announced it would open Chinese and Russian sites within the year, featuring changes tailored to the respective markets, such as a 10% price reduction on Asos China.

Asos was crowned Larger Etailer of the year and Growing Retailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards.

2013

Co-founder James Hart resigned after 14 years at the company. He had worked for CEO Nick Robertson since graduating university in 1996.

Primark collaborates with Asos allowing a selected range of lines to be sold on via the online retailer. Primark pulled out of the Asos collaboration in 2014.

The company’s HR head Michelle Emmerson and executive director of product and trading Kate Bostock both step down within a week of one another. Bostock had moved from Marks & Spencer only seven months earlier.

The etailer was also named Fashion Pure-Play Etailer of the Year at the Drapers Awards in November.

2014

Asos reported total retail sales of 37% over the holiday period, 3% more than analysts’ predictions. Their percentage of customers grew over the period as well, 41% more than the year before.

The etailer was forced to delay deliveries following a Barnsley warehouse fire in June. The warehouse itself contained around 70% of the Asos’s stock, and impacted the distribution of Spring 2014 and Autumn 2014 collections. A teenager was eventually arrested in October and charged with Arson. Asos reported a £30m loss due to the fire in its third quarter financial report.

Asos donated £10,000 to anti-bullying charity The Diana Award after implying on Twitter that model Jodie Marsh looked like a man.

Chief information officer Peter Marsden left the business after two years, as an unconfirmed US retailer’s interest in buying the company increased Asos’s share price by 17%. Both eBay and Amazon were said to be involved.

Asos’s website crashed on the December 28, with the etailer unable to process orders for several hours.

2015

The company is announced as the official creator for the British team’s 2016 Paralympic Games formal and ceremony wear. Around 250-300 atheletes will be wearing the designs in Rio next year.

Adjustment of international prices were blamed for Asos’s profits falling by 10% from Q3 and Q4 2014 through to February. However, its retail sales grew 14%, with internaitonal sales growing 5%.

Asos and TK Maxx are forced to remove a T-shirt from their sites bearing the words ‘Je suis over it’, after claims that it mocked the ‘Je suis Charlie’ message in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in France.

Founder and CEO Nick Robertston stepped down today, remaining on the company’s board as a non-executive director. His successor is company COO Nick Beighton. This coincides with the introduction of ex-Lloyds Banking Group financial director Helen Ashton as the company’s new CFO.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.