Asos: Fashion Retailer Unveils 'Stunning' Figures
Online fashion seller Asos has revealed a huge rise in sales, up 40% on last year.
The fast-growing British business has bucked the trend on the traditional high street and seen even higher growth than its online rivals.
The firm, which targets young women seeking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities such as singer Rita Ora, has seen customer numbers grow to more than seven million.
It has tapped into demand from value-seeking twentysomethings for both branded and own-label products and expanded into overseas markets. Two-thirds of its sales now come from outside the UK.
Total sales for the year were £753.8m, driven by strong growth in countries such as the US, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, where Asos has dedicated websites and 'in-country' teams, the company said.
It is aiming for annual sales of £1bn by 2015.
Shares in the company, which have more than doubled over the past year, rose sharply on news of the figures. They were up 10% at one stage on Wednesday's closing figure of 4,833p, which valued the business at £3.9bn.
Analysts have described the company's final quarter results as "stunning".
Asos, whose celebrity fans include Michelle Obama, plans to strengthen its overseas business with the launch of a Chinese-language website in October.
Founded as As Seen On Screen Ltd in 2000 and floated on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) a year later, Asos is the biggest success story of British retailing in recent years.
Earlier this year it announced a tie-up with Primark, allowing the budget fashion chain to sell clothes on the internet for the first time.
The firm was hit by a high-profile departure in the summer when former Marks and Spencer executive Kate Bostock walked out after just six months, saying Asos "isn't the right place for me".