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Business News

ASOS profits leap 275% as pandemic restrictions drive fashion sales online


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ASOS, the online fashion retailer, has reported a 275% leap in half-year profits as it benefits from coronavirus restrictions that have hammered high street rivals.

The company, which snapped up the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands earlier this year following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire, reported a 24% increase in revenue during the six months to 28 February.

The sum came in just shy of £2bn – aided by a 39% rise in the UK and growth in the EU and US of 18% and 16% respectively as much of the world remained mired by intermittent COVID-19 lockdowns.

Asos leggings PIC: Asos
Image: ASOS has enjoyed strong demand for casual and exercise wear during the pandemic Pic: ASOS

ASOS said the pandemic drove a 1.5 million rise in its active customer base over the six months, almost hitting 25 million.

It reported an adjusted profit before tax, which included the impact of the deal to give the former Arcadia brands an online-only future, of £112.9m compared to £30.1m in the same period 12 months earlier.

That was despite a 2% hit to profit margins which, ASOS said, was “driven by increased freight costs due to COVID-19 disruption, foreign exchange movements and continued ‘lockdown’ category product mix”.

It calculated that the company had enjoyed a pandemic benefit of £48.5m but warned that sum was likely to unwind as coronavirus restrictions ease and life begins to return to normal.

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The company relaunched the Arcadia brands just weeks after completing the £330m deal and reported “great early customer momentum”.

Only 300 of the 2,500 staff were retained as stores were cast aside.

A branch of Topshop on Oxford Street, central London.
Image: A branch of Topshop on Oxford Street, central London.

ASOS was yet to decide whether to reopen the flagship Topshop store in London’s Oxford St – a move, if realised, that would give ASOS its only exposure to physical retail space.

Chief executive Nick Beighton told investors: “The swift integration of the Topshop brands and the impressive early customer engagement is also especially pleasing.

“Looking ahead, while we are mindful of the short-term uncertainty and potential economic consequences of the continuing pandemic, we are confident in the momentum we have built, and excited about delivering on our ambition of being the number one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News

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