Asos still in fashion as profits and sales keep soaring

BBC News
Getty Images Masha Sedgwick wears an Asos top, with a Sies Marjan skirt in Berlin

Shares in Asos have surged 14% after another set of strong results from the fast fashion retailer.

The firm posted a £500m rise in revenue to £2.4bn for the year to 31 August, while profit jumped 28% to £102m, just ahead of expectations.

Shares in the fast-growing online retailer had slumped this year after the firm missed analysts' forecasts.

However, Asos maintained its guidance for the current year despite record investment.

Chief executive Nick Beighton said: "The potential for our business is huge and we remain focussed on building Asos into the world's number one destination for fashion-loving twentysomethings."

Asos sales have risen more than a fifth in each of the past three years as consumers continue to buy more online.

While the company has outperformed high street rivals such as Next or Marks and Spencer, investors get nervous when it misses its targets.

As a result, shares fell sharply in July after Asos reported lower than expected sales growth and are still down about 12% this year despite the £6.72 rise to £56.74 on Wednesday.

The retailer said it had grown strongly last year in both the UK and internationally.

It also broke ground with a new gender-fluid range called Collusion, designed in collaboration with six young social media influencers.

Richard Hunter at Interactive Investor said: "Within the beleaguered retail sector, Asos is a breath of fresh air. These numbers further underline its strength.

"Of slight concern is the fact that Asos will need to maintain this breakneck speed of growth to continue justifying its lofty valuation, as evidenced in the July update when the shares were hit after slightly weaker than expected sales.

"However, its ongoing investment in the business and planned international further expansion means there is much to go for."

Greg Lawless at Shore Capital maintained its "buy" rating on the shares.

"We believe that Asos remains a structural winner, given the shift online by consumers, together with harnessing the global opportunity as the 'go-to' platform for online clothing," he said.

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