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Asos name challenged in Germany

Asos’ plans to expand in Germany could be thwarted as the etailer faces a legal challenge from a similarly-named retailer in the country.

German menswear retailer Anson’s is seeking legal action to prevent the use of the Asos name to sell clothes in Germany as it argues the UK etailer’s name is similar to its own.

The German retailer said there is a danger of customer confusion, according to the Financial Times. If the Hamburg court, where it has registered its complaint, agrees it may force Asos to use a different name in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

Asos has been ramping up international expansion after generating strong sales in overseas markets. In the three months to March 31, its overseas arm overtook UK sales for the first time. International sales made up 52% of sales, with expectations that the proportion of non-UK sales could soon reach 60%. It plans to open a handful of new international sites, thought to include Spain and Australia, this year.

Anson’s, which has 21 stores in Germany, has a website but does not sell online. A hearing on the case is due to take place on May 3.  

A spokesperson for Anson’s said: “Anson’s welcomes healthy competition in the market but not to the extent it may confuse customers and dilute our valuable and long-standing brand.”

Asos said: “Anson’s are clearly being opportunistic. There is zero evidence of confusion between Anson’s and Asos. The claims are being fought vigorously and Asos remains confident of its position.”

Anson’s took legal action against Asos last year, to prevent the etailer from using a German language pop-up banner on its UK website informing customers that it shipped to Germany.

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