LONDON — Online youth-focused fashion retailer ASOS on Tuesday upgraded its forecast for sales growth this year, saying the collapse in the pound since last June’s Brexit vote has actually provided a boost.
The company said in its half-year results on Tuesday: “As a net exporter, sterling weakness has created a FX tailwind for the business which has enabled investment above previously planned levels into both price and proposition.”
The pound collapsed to 30-year lows in the wake of last year’s vote to leave the EU and has not recovered markedly since. Around two-thirds of ASOS’ sales come from overseas and, as a result, it is able to take advantage of the weak pound — it’s goods look cheap abroad. International sales in the six months to February 28 leapt 54% as a result.
Pro-Brexit politicians touted this effect on exporters as a silver lining to the collapse in the pound but ASOS is one of the few companies to report actually benefiting from it.
ASOS upgraded its forecast for sales growth this financial year to 30-35%, although it said this was likely to be a short-term blip and longer term sales growth would revert to the 20-25% range previously guided.
In the six months to February 28, ASOS enjoyed sales growth of 38%. Revenue grew 37% to hit £911.5 million in the period. Pre-tax profit improved by 14% to £27.3 million.
CEO Nick Beighton says in Tuesday’s results: “Given the current momentum we are seeing, ASOS is making good progress towards its ultimate goal of becoming the world’s no. 1 destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings.”
ASOS, which stocks a huge number of big brands such as Nike and Calvin Klein alongside its own-brand goods, attracted 127 million visitors in February and had 14.1 million active customers.
The retailer is particularly strong on mobile, with 70% of its traffic now coming from smartphones. Downloads of its app increased 28% in the last six months.
ASOS has 21.3 million followers across its social channels globally and says it has been experimenting with new products such as Facebook live, Instagram stories, and Snapchat lenses. An ASOS Black Friday Snapchat lense reached 32 million people, the company says.
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