ASOS sales climb 38% in run-up to Christmas as high street rivals suffer

ASOS recently launched in China, marking its eighth local language site outside the UK

Online fashion retailer ASOS has delivered "another strong Christmas" with sales surging 38 per cent as high street rivals continue to suffer.

The group rung up revenues of £335.7 million in the four months to December 31, with analysts expecting the firm to smash through its £1 billion turnover target by the end of August.

ASOS - targeted at "fashion forward twenty somethings" - said UK sales were particularly robust, beating its performance from a year earlier with growth of 37 per cent, while international revenues lifted 38 per cent.

The group saw the number of active customers grow to 7.9 million at the end of 2013, up 41 per cent year-on-year.

Nick Robertson, chief executive of ASOS, said: "We have enjoyed another strong Christmas and made a good start to the financial year."

Its performance provides a further sign that the Christmas season was a stellar one for online retailers and those with a strong internet presence.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) last week showed web sales grew at the fastest pace for more than three years in December, up 19.2%, with sparkling performances from chains such as John Lewis and Next fuelled by online trade.

ASOS, which stands for "As Seen on Screen", said the first week in December was its strongest as shoppers stocked up on party dresses for the festive season. Oversized coats and Christmas jumpers were other best sellers.

The firm said it benefited from recent efforts to improve its service, having introduced free delivery and returns and an extended 9pm cut off for next day delivery in the UK.

Freddie George, retail analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said trading at ASOS was "impressive, but broadly in line with market expectations".

Europe was the star performer for ASOS in the four month period, with sales rising by 69 per cent, while revenues increased 28% in the US and 19% elsewhere internationally. It recently launched in China, marking its eighth local language site outside the UK.

"We believe the company will focus on a limited number of markets with a view to making them as significant as the UK rather than taking a scatter gun approach to global expansion," said Mr George.

Additional reporting by agencies

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