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"We grew sales by 14 per cent despite a more competitive market. Asos is capable of a lot more. We have identified a number of things we can do better and are taking action accordingly. We are confident of an improved performance in the second half and are not changing our guidance for the year," Nick Beighton, CEO, said.
EU sales grew 10 per cent in constant currency, behind the initial plans, largely due to weakness in the German and French markets. The performance of the other EU countries was more encouraging at +22 per cent.
Within the US, constant currency sales growth was behind plan at 4 per cent. As the Atlanta warehouse went fully online in early February, demand far exceeded our expectations (billed sales increased around 80 per cent over the first three day period) and the warehouse was not staffed to cope.
"We are nearing the end of a major capex programme. Whilst this has inevitably involved significant disruption and transition costs, the global capability it now provides us gives us increased confidence in our ability to continue to capture market share whilst restoring profitability and accelerating free cash flow generation," added Beighton.
Across H1, the fashion destination saw growth in frequency, up 4 per cent year on year, as the UK and US showed healthy increases. Combined with broadly flat items per basket (+1%) this demonstrates the strength of the Asos offer rather than a shift towards smaller, more frequent orders. The increase in frequency also reflects the role existing customers have had in underpinning the sales growth in H1.
"Global online fashion is a growing, £220bn+ market. We now have the tech platform, the infrastructure, a constant conversation with our growing customer base who love our own great product and the constantly evolving edit of brands we present to them. We believe that ultimately there will only be a handful of companies with truly global scale in this market. We are determined that Asos will be one of them," Beighton explained. (RR)
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