ASOS sales growth accelerates

ONLINE fashion retailer ASOS forecast year profit in line with market expectations after sales growth accelerated in its third quarter.

ASOS, which targets internet-savvy 16 to 34 year old women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Alexa Chung but at a fraction of the price, said today its retail sales rose 59 per cent to 100m in the three months to December 31.

That compares with an increase of 50 per cent in its first half.

The firm said UK retail sales increased 23 per cent to 56.3m, while international sales jumped 156 percent to 43.7m, helped by the introduction of United States, French and German websites in October 2010 and a free global shipping offer in the run up to Christmas.

International sales now represent 44 per cent of ASOS' sales mix, up from 37 per cent in the first half.

ASOS - which stands for As Seen on Screen - said it remained confident about the outlook.

The firm last year announced plans to invest 40m in a state-of-the-art warehouse in Barnsley as part of its plans to quadruple in size by 2015.

Shares in ASOS have more than trebled over the last year, fuelled by buoyant trading and speculation the firm could attract a bid from companies as diverse as 18.3 per cent Danish shareholder Bestseller, U.S. Internet giant Amazon and retailers Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

The stock closed Tuesday at 1,550 pence, valuing the business at 1.14bn.