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By
Reuters
Published
Jan 14, 2014
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ASOS posts big jump in Christmas sales

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 14, 2014

LONDON, England - British online fashion retailer ASOS posted a big jump in sales in the run-up to Christmas, putting it firmly among the sector's major winners in the key festive trading season.

ASOS, whose shares have nearly trebled over the last year, said on Tuesday its retail sales rose 38 percent to 335.7 million pounds in the four months to December 31 - the first four months of its 2013-14 fiscal year.

Current collection at ASOS | Source: ASOS

That compares with a rise of 47 percent in the fourth quarter of the 2012-13 year and analysts' consensus forecast for growth of 36 percent.

The firm said it had 7.9 million active customers as of December 31, up 41 percent year-on-year.

ASOS, founded in 2000 by former advertising executive Nick Robertson, the current CEO, has been the big success story in British retailing in recent years, with its fast-changing fashions snapped up by internet-savvy twentysomethings and attracting fans including United States First Lady Michelle Obama and singer Rita Ora.

Its shares have soared 164 percent over the last year, giving it a market value of 5.8 billion pounds - the equivalent of six Debenhams (DEB.L) and only 2 billion pounds less than Marks & Spencer, Britain's biggest clothing retailer which is 130 years old.

ASOS' UK sales jumped 37 percent to 133.7 million pounds, with international sales up 38 percent to 202 million pounds, with sales in Europe particularly strong with growth of 69 percent.

ASOS said retail gross margin rose 90 basis points year-on-year in the period, reflecting tighter stock control.

"These results were driven by significant improvements to our customer proposition, including better delivery options, additional payment methods and the roll out of our premier service in key international markets," said Robertson.

Shares in ASOS closed Monday at 6,860 pence.

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