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"Whilst trading in September and October was broadly in line with our expectations, November, a very material month for us from both a sales and cash margin perspective, was significantly behind expectations. The current backdrop of economic uncertainty across many of our major markets together with a weakening in consumer confidence has led to the weakest growth in online clothing sales in recent years. We have recalibrated our expectations for the current year accordingly," Nick Beighton, CEO, said.
In the UK, Asos continues to materially outperform in its home market with sales growth YTD (September 1 through November 30) of 19 per cent, although this has been achieved at the cost of more promotional activity than initially planned and consumers buying into lower priced product.
Turning to the EU, sales growth across this segment was more than18 per cent YTD. Trading conditions across our two largest markets of Germany and France, which account for c.60 per cent of EU sales, have become significantly more challenging, with the performance of these two countries at 15 per cent YTD. Some more encouraging performances were seen across a number of the other EU countries, particularly those in which we have recently launched more localised experiences, and the performance of the EU segment excluding France and Germany is 24 per cent YTD.
The US performance at 13 per cent YTD has largely been in line with our expectations as we have been testing our new operation in Atlanta as it moves to 100 local fulfilment during the course of the current financial year. Discounting activity over the Black Friday period was very significant, a trend it did not follow.
"We achieved 14 per cent sales growth in a difficult market, but in the light of a significant downturn in November, we think it's prudent to recalibrate our expectations for the full year. We are taking all appropriate actions and our ambitions for Asos have not changed," Beighton said. (RR)
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