Sales were driven by strong growth in countries where it has dedicated websites and country teams, such as the UK, France, Italy and the US. Sales rose 57 per cent in the US and 51 per cent rise in the EU, while UK sales increased 49 per cent. International markets now account for 64 per cent of sales and the firm is looking to enter new countries, launching a Chinese-language site in October.
Asos has tapped into demand for online shopping, targeting young women hoping to emulate the styles of celebrities such as Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss. It combines e-commerce with social media and content marketing, with its Asos magazine now one of the most widely read fashion publications in the UK. It has also boosted marketing investment in recent months to make the most of the opportunity.
The site now has 7.1 million active customers, up from 5 million a year ago. It has managed to keep and acquire new users through an innovative approach to e-commerce. It offers features such as “Follow My Parcel”, which lets customers track their purchases in real time, and a “Scan & Shop” tool that enables consumers to scan an item in a magazine article using their smartphone to get redirected to an online sales page.
Asos is not the only UK retailer plotting international expansion. River Island is considering a move into the US after its tie-up with singer Rihanna helped raise the company’s profile. It already has stores in Russia, Holland, Poland, Belgium, the Middle East and the Far east. It posted a 0.4 per cent sales increase to £802m, while pre-tax profits were up12.5 per cent to £97.8m.
River Island is just the latest high street retailer to post growth as confidence returns to the high street. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics shows that sales were up 3.8 per cent year on year in August.
British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dicksinson says: “These are strong figures well above the annual average and are sustaining the positive momentum we’ve seen in recent months.”