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Nick Beighton

CEO, Asos

It has been something of a difficult year for this online giant. Asos’s sheer size and loyal millennial customer base means it is still an influential force, but this year has proved it is not immune to the wider challenges facing retail.

Profit before tax slumped by 68% year on year to £33.1m in the 12 months to 31 August. Investment that proved “more disruptive than anticipated” at the European and US warehouses was blamed, as well as a loss of focus on product, presentation and customer engagement.

CEO Nick Beighton stressed that the investment will drive growth and allow Asos to become “one of the few truly global leaders in retail”.

Meanwhile, outraged suppliers branded the etailer’s demand for a 3% retrospective discount on all orders for stock received after 1 September “unbelievable”.

The business is also consulting with 100 members of staff across its head office over proposed job cuts as part of an ongoing restructuring, as revealed by Drapers in October.

Asos bosses will not be looking back on 2019 with much fondness – they missed out on bonuses for the second consecutive year after failing to hit performance targets.

However, Beighton believes Asos well positioned to expand internationally, which should lead to a more positive 2020.

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