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Asos half year profits soar 66%

Online giant ASOS half-year profits before tax and exceptionals soared 66% to £11.7m.

Group revenue jumped 56% to £217m in the six months to September 30 driven by its soaring international sales.

In a signal of its true global ambitions work is underway to enable its platform to handle all language character sets rather than just western.

The retailer has opted for this rather than building individual sites for countries such as China and Russia. Although this will take 12 months longer to develop, Asos said it would be more efficient in the long term.

Overseas revenue, which now accounts for 58% of group sales, increased 150% while UK revenue grew by 8%. Asos retail margin was up 170bps and its gross margin up 10bps year-on-year.

The retailer said the UK remains challenging.

It said: “As a result we are proceeding more cautiously particularly over the peak period where we anticipate continued high levels of discounting across all retail channels.”

The fashion site is still forecasting domestic growth in the short to medium term and is building its ranges, developing its proposition and increasing brand awareness.

It launched three international sites in Australia, Italy and Spain over the first half and has opened a returns hub in Sydney.

It said its next target is to introduce small in-country teams to strengthen  its marketing in the countries where it operates. It expects to establish these teams early in the new year.

The retailer said it had made good progress towards its goal of £1bn sales by 2015. The website remains one of the top five most visited clothing sites in the world, with 65% of its traffic derived from outside the UK. This compares to 48% the year previously.

Asos chief executive Nick Robertson said: “With our continued rapid and profitable international expansion, we remain confident of achieving full year results in line with market expectations.”

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