Online clothing retailer Asos reports December sales of £78m and puts success down to cutting prices of own-brand items
Asos, the online clothing retailer favoured by Michele Obama, Nicole Scherzinger and Fearne Cotton, has smashed City expectations by reporting a 41% rise in Christmas sales.
The company, which was founded in 2000 by Nick Robertson, a great-grandson of the tailor Austin Reed, reported December sales of £78m. Sales in the UK rose by 34% compared to the same month a year earlier, while international sales jumped 47%.
Robertson, a former ad man, started up Asos (which stands for As Seen On Screen) when he heard that 25,000 viewers had rung the producers of Friends desperate to find out how they could buy items featured on the show. He said the good figures were “not a new story – we’ve been going 14 years and always doing well”.
Robertson said the company had done exceptionally well last month by listening to its customers and cutting the prices of its own-brand clothing. “We acknowledged that prices had probably crept up, while our customers are getting poorer,” he said. The company’s own-brand clothing now accounts for 50% of total sales, he added.
Robertson said the bestselling items were “the whole black and white theme”, sporty trends, bomber jackets, 90s caps and retro trainers. He said Asos’s team of designers had spotted most of the trends months ago and ensured the company was on-trend, but added that if they missed a trend his team could “turn it round in as quick as two weeks”.
Robertson said the “vast, vast majority” of Asos’s customers were twentysomethings, with an average age of 22. He disagreed with some analysts who cite Asos’s success as a contributor to the woes of the high street. “There is a structural change going on,” he said. “[It is a] perfect storm of consumer environment not being great, and, perhaps, a high street that overindulged in the boom years.”
Asos, which already delivers to 160 countries, is continuing with its international expansion, with the opening of Russian and Chinese language websites this year.