ASOS shares hit as sales stumble

Online fashion and beauty retailer ASOS saw its shares slide yesterday after it revealed weaker-than-expected sales growth in the UK and US.

The group, which targets 16 to 34-year-olds with its own brand of clothes based on outfits first worn by celebrities, reported 4 per cent UK sales growth to £47.1m, compared to 10 per cent growth in the previous quarter. The US saw sales growth slide from 146 per cent to 69 per cent.

ASOS, which has seen its share price drop 24 per cent in the last month and 40 per cent in the last year, has seen total sales growth ease quarter by quarter, falling from 69 per cent in the April to June quarter to 34 per cent in the latest update.

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Wayne Brown, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said “the underlying momentum is behind where we were hoping” but said he still expects the group to hit its £1bn sales target by 2015.

International sales increased 63 per cent to £77m, compared to 93 per cent growth the previous quarter, as new websites were launched in Spain, Italy and Australia. International sales now make up 59 per cent of the total.

Chief executive Nick Robertson, who started the business in 2000, said pre-tax profits were expected to be in line with expectations of around £40m, compared to £28.6m in the previous year.

ASOS also stocks fashion favourites such as River Island, American Apparel and Ralph Lauren.

It sells beauty products, accessories and jewellery, with claims that 1,500 new product lines are being introduced every week. The website is now attracting 18.5 million unique visitors a month.