Asos Among Winners As Online 'Hurts High St'
The acceleration in the shift in consumer spending from the high street to online has been reflected in results from Asos, whose sales have leapt by 38%.
The web-based fashion retailer said sales hit £335.7m in the four months to December 31 - with its active customer base topping 7.9 million - a rise of 41% on a year earlier.
Asos, which was founded in 2000 by former advertising executive Nick Robertson, has been the big success story in British retailing in recent years, with its fast-changing fashions snapped up by internet-savvy twentysomethings and attracting fans including US First Lady Michelle Obama and singer Rita Ora.
Its shares have soared 164% over the last year, giving it a market value of £5.8bn - only £2bn less than Marks & Spencer's which is Britain's biggest clothing retailer.
Asos said its UK sales rose 37% in the period to £133.7m.
Tighter stock control was credited for an increase in its retail gross margin.
Mr Robertson said: "These results were driven by significant improvements to our customer proposition, including better delivery options, additional payment methods and the roll out of our premier service in key international markets."
The phenomenal growth reflects poorly on the high street - which was visited by fewer shoppers in the run up to Christmas according to industry body, the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
It measured footfall down 3.7% in December compared with the same month in 2012.
High streets suffered more than out-of-town locations, which were down 0.6%, and shopping centres which were off by 1.5%.
Separate data showed almost one in five non-food purchases were made online in December, as overall retail sales grew 0.4% on a like-for-like basis.
BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: "These figures highlight how the rapid evolution of multichannel is changing the face of shopping, particularly at Christmas.
"Rather than making multiple trips to the shops over the festive period, many of us planned ahead for our gift-buying and took advantage of retailers' investment in services like click-and-collect," she said.
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