Asos market cap now bigger than M&S in historic moment, gap set to widen

today Nov 30, 2017
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Asos has a higher market capitalisation than M&S for the first time with the historic moment for UK retail showing the online pureplay upstart finally outstripping one of Britain’s long-term leading retail names.


That was a close of play on Wednesday based on Reuters data with 17 year-old Asos having a market value of £5.06 billion at the time the stock market closed while M&S was valued at £4.89 billion. 

However, market capitalisation assessments vary depending on who’s analysing the data and with Asos shares dipping slightly on Thursday and M&S edging up, Google Finance on Thursday showed the former’s value was £50.09 billion while M&S had edged up to £51 billion.

But tiny day-to-day differences aren’t really the point, What matters here is the symbolic fact of newer, tech-based businesses taking over from brands that have dominated the fashion retail landscape for decades.

Analysts expect Asos to power ahead during 2018 and not only overtake M&S but other big UK retail names such as Sainsbury’s. They have compared the moment that Asos took the lead to that when Tesla overtook Ford earlier this year to become the most valuable carmaker in the US.
In the late 1990s, before Asos was founded, M&S had a value closer to £17 billion, although this had fallen to less than £8 billion by the time Asos floated on the stock exchange in 2001.
And while M&S sales are around 10 times those of Asos, in terms of profits M&S is only around four times larger than its younger rival, highlighting the higher profitability of the leading e-tail businesses in Britain today.

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