Saturday 17 November 2018

Asos shares slide as fashion giant’s growth stutters

The online retailer has pulled back on growth as it sets up new warehouses in Germany and the US.

Asos shares slumped 10% after the online fashion business failed to impress investors with its sales growth (Tim Goode/PA)
Asos shares slumped 10% after the online fashion business failed to impress investors with its sales growth (Tim Goode/PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

Asos shares have slumped 10% after the online fashion business failed to impress investors with its sales growth.

The retailer said its group revenues grew by 22% to £823.9 million in the four months to June 30.

However, this was below analysts’ forecasts, and Asos warned that its full-year growth will be at the “lower end” of market expectations.

Chief executive Nick Beighton said the company had missed sales targets because it was “managing demand” while bringing various infrastructure projects into operation.

Asos is setting up new warehouse operations in east Berlin and Atlanta, Georgia. The warehouse in Berlin, the so-called Eurohub 2 distribution centre, was damaged in a fire last year.

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Asos chief executive Nick Beighton (Asos/PA)

Peel Hunt analysts said: “Performance is more about what Asos has chosen not to do, rather than what it has done; US activity has all but stopped ahead of the new Atlanta warehouse coming on-stream; and management has also dialled down on EU activity ahead of the automation of Eurohub 2 going live.”

UK retail sales were up 23% from £234.6 million to £288 million, while sales in the EU rose 31% to £257.4 million.

In the US, sales increased 15%, from £94.4 million to £108.1 million.

Asos expects its profit before tax to be in line with consensus forecasts for the year.

Mr Beighton said: “I am pleased with the way the business has traded over the last four months and we are on track with our plans for the year.

“We delivered good sales growth, particularly in the UK, better-than-planned gross margin alongside significant progress on our infrastructure investments.”

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Adam Crozier will take over as Asos chairman in November (ITV/PA)

The trading update comes after Asos announced that Adam Crozier, the former boss of ITV and Royal Mail, would become its chairman.

He is also chairman at Whitbread, the firm behind Costa Coffee and Premier Inn.

Mr Crozier will succeed Brian McBride when he steps down on November 29 after six years heading the board.

Press Association

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