Thursday 27 November 2014

ASOS resumes online orders following fire at main warehouse

Published 23/06/2014 | 08:49

Picture: Asos
The notice on Asos' website over the weekend.

British online fashion retailer ASOS said today it has restarted taking orders after a fire at its main warehouse at Barnsley in northern England on Friday led to a suspension over the weekend.

The firm said it recommenced taking orders at 1am GMT today, and was fully insured for loss of stock and business interruption caused by the fire.

ASOS said that as of May 31 the business held 159 million pounds (€199.11 million) of stock at cost, of which around 70 percent was held at Barnsley Distribution Centre.

It estimated that approximately 20 percent of the total stock at the site had been compromised by fire damage and the sprinkler systems.

However, none of the technology, automation or structure of the building was affected by the fire.

"We have been advised by the South Yorkshire Police that after initial investigations, they are treating the incident as deliberate and have commenced a criminal inquiry," said ASOS.

"We are cooperating fully with this investigation."

The fire came just two weeks after ASOS warned that its full-year profits would miss forecasts by 30 percent.

A former darling of the retail sector, ASOS spooked investors in March when it announced plans to spend on infrastructure to meet future demand, at the expense of short-term profits.

Then a profit warning on June 5 wiped 1.2 billion pounds off its market value.

Analysts pointed to the full insurance cover and noted that ASOS' management has experience in dealing with a similar business continuity issue as in 2005 its then Hemel Hempstead warehouse in south east England was damaged by nearby explosions at the Buncefield fuel depot.

"Roll forward, ASOS are now bigger, uglier, more global and one would imagine less agile perhaps in their response," said analysts at Jefferies.

Shares in ASOS closed Friday at 2,752 pence, valuing the business at 2.3 billion pounds.

Irish Independent

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