Booming overseas sales keep Asos on growth trail

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The Independent Online

Asos, the online fashion retailer, said its international sales overtook those in the UK for the first time in the fourth quarter, as its booming growth shows little sign of slowing.

Despite tougher trading conditions in the UK, Asos forecast that its pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March would be towards the top end of City expectations of between £26m and £29m.

Over the last quarter, Asos posted group retail revenues up by 70 per cent to £93.38m.

Nick Robertson, the chief executive, said: "With international becoming an increasingly significant part of our future, I was pleased to see our international sales mix exceed that of the UK for the first time, accounting for 52 per cent of our retail sales."

Asos delivered international sales up by 161 per cent to £48.43m, boosted by its dedicated websites in the US, France and Germany. Its UK business grew sales by 24 per cent to £44.95m.

The online specialist cited a strong performance of its own-brand slim-fit chinos and Asos Wayfarer sunglasses for men, and womenswear, including pleats, pencil dresses and its Jersey micro-mini skirts.

The retailer said it had delivered a "small increase" in gross margin.

Mr Robertson said: "We have approached the new financial year with confidence and are excited about the prospects for both our UK and international businesses."

Despite British consumers being under financial pressure, Asos's UK business continues to stretch ahead of the 20 per cent growth internet non-food sales in the wider market.

John Stevenson, the analyst at Peel Hunt, said: "This was an encouraging result, while we had expected a level of international outperformance against forecasts, we had feared the UK may have disappointed, which has proved not to be the case."

UK sales were promotion driven, however, with customers "requiring incentives to spend".