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International sales help Asos' pre-tax profits soar 44%

Asos said that pre-tax profits soared 44% to £20.3m in the year to March 31, boosted by its burgeoning international business.

Asos’ international business - which accounts for 28% of the etailer’s sales - grew sales by 95% to £63m during the year. UK sales grew 20% to £160m.Total full-year sales were up 35% to £223m.

Gross margin was 41.8% compared with 43.3% the year before but Asos said that margin recovered in the second half of the year.

In the nine weeks to June 6, the etailer said that trading had remained strong with group sales up 58%, a 36% rise in the UK and an international sales hike of 118%.

Asos chief executive Nick Robertson said: “We are more confident than at this time last year, with both UK and international sales accelerating well. We are keeping a very close eye on controlling our costs whilst at the same time encouraging the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that drives what we do.”

He added: “We are excited about the future and believe that online fashion will continue to outperform traditional retail channels. We are at the leading edge of our sector and see enormous potential to drive our business forward, both in the UK and internationally.”

‘Under-potentialised’

Asos admitted that it was too prudent last year when planning stock levels as the forecast hit to spending among its younger customer failed to materialise. Asos chairman Lord Alli said that its results “whilst strong were under-potentialised” as a result. He added that the etailer is “more confident for the current year”.

Warehouse to generate £600m in sales

The group also announced that it would make a £20m investment in a new warehouse to open in mid 2011, which will have the capacity for £600m worth of annual sales.

Numis analyst Nick Coulter said: “With a fully-racked capacity of £1.2bn of sales, this warehouse marks a step-change in Asos’s development, being sufficient to take the business to its five-year target of £1bn of sales.”

Delivery options

Asos, which introduced free delivery and returns to UK customers in September, added that it would allow customers to order on Asos and pick up in other retailer’s stores. It said that conversations were ongoing with retailers about the initiative.

Womenswear and accessories

Asos now offers 36,000 products, up from 22,000 last year and the etailer said that it had seen a 25% rise in active customers to 1.6m.  Womenswear and accessories accounted for 72% of sales and Asos said that it would continue to evolve its offer in to new categories and price points.

Asos Black, the etailer’s premium range, was expanded from dresses to full outfits including shoes and bags during the year. Asos also launched the Green Room which stocks ethically sourced brands and Asos Africa launched, offering ranges sourced in Africa. It also launched vintage offer Asos Reclaimed.

Menswear

Menswear accounted for 20% of total sales in the year and attracted retailers and brands including Paul Smith, Hugo Boss and nike“>Nike and adidas“>Adidas. Menswear was also launched in to Asos Outlet, the etailer’s clearance area.

Asos will add a number of new international brands in to the mix in the coming seasons.

International

Asos delivers to 167 markets and said that it saw “enormous” potential in international markets and the US in particular. It said it was on track to launch a US website in September and French and German websites will follow later in the year.

The US market has grown at over 180% per year.

 

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