ASOS shares crash after online fashion retailer misses forecasts

Shares slumped as much as 20% in early trading

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The Independent Online

Shares in online fashion giant Asos plummeted in early London trading after the former stock-market darling missed City forecasts and announced higher near-term costs.

The firm, which targets 20-something followers of fashion, announced for the first time that sales will hit £1 billion this year.

However, retail sales growth for the second quarter of 26 per cent was below the 28 per cent expected, which Asos blamed in part on adverse currency moves.

That prompted the shares, which more than doubled last year, to slump as much as 20 per cent in early trading, before they settled back to 5430p, still a fall of 896p, or 14 per cent.

Founder and chief executive Nick Robertson said the fashion site was stepping up investment in warehousing in the UK, in Barnsley, Yorkshire and in Europe.

 He said the increased investment will mean the group can forecast sales up to  £2.5 billion in the future.

But the higher distribution costs and also Chinese losses for its new business in Asia will drag its margin down this year.

Robertson said: "In the longer term we will offset increases in currency by reducing pricing where necessary in those regions.”

Analyst Nick Bubb said: "When a stock is as highly valued as Asos, it’s a big ask to disappoint on both the top line and the bottom line in the short term."