ASOS in fashion as UK sales surge

Nick RobertsonOnline fashion retailer ASOS remains in vogue with shoppers and the City after reporting a better-than-expected sales jump of 24% in the UK.

The company, which has 5.4 million customers in 160 countries, has banished fears that its home market is stagnating by refocusing its marketing efforts on its core twenty-something customer base and delivering more price cuts.
According to chief executive Nick Robertson, all-in-one adult pyjamas, known as "onesies", were selling well alongside Christmas jumpers and leather goods.

And initiatives such as "Complete the Look", where the website suggests other clothes and accessories to go with an outfit, also helped accelerate sales.

The group, which bases its products on outfits first worn by celebrities, dropped prices by around 3% on its own-brand lines from February, helping drive UK sales to £62 million in the three months to November 30.

The online retailer's overall revenues rose by 30% to £169.4 million after it opened offices in the United States, France and Germany during the period and its international business alone saw a 34% sales boost to £103.7 million.

International sales now account for 63% of the group's total retail sales. In the US, where Michelle Obama was photographed in an ASOS dress during the presidential election campaign, sales were up 57%.

European Union sales were up 15% to £33.3 million, with the group saying countries with dedicated websites performed best.

The group said it now attracts 23 million unique visitors to its websites each month, up from 18.2 million in the same period last year.

Andrew Wade, a retail analyst at Numis, said ASOS had posted a strong first quarter underpinned by an "impressive" UK performance. Shares were 5% higher today.
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