Jan 19, 2012
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ASOS sees year in line after solid Q3

Jan 19, 2012

LONDON - British online fashion retailer ASOS said it would meet full-year profit forecasts after reporting a strong third-quarter boosted by rapid international growth and a solid performance in its domestic market.


ASOS, which targets internet-savvy 16 to 34-year-old women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Tulisa Contostavlos but at a fraction of the price, said on Thursday UK retail sales growth was 10 percent in the three months to Dec. 31, its fiscal third quarter.

That compares with analysts' consensus forecast of 5 pct and second quarter growth of 1 percent.

International sales rose 93 percent, just undershooting analysts' consensus forecast of 100 percent and growth of 141 percent in the previous quarter.

Total retail sales rose 46 percent to 146.5 million pounds, while the retail gross margin increased by 300 points, in line with guidance, it said on Thursday.

"With the business continuing to perform well through these challenging economic times, we remain confident about the outlook and expect our full year results to be in line with market expectations," the company said.

Shares in ASOS reached a 12-month high of 2,508 pence in June, fuelled by buoyant trading and bid speculation, but have since fallen back sharply as the overall market has tumbled, directors sold shares and investors have fretted about the impact of rising youth unemployment on UK growth.

The stock closed Wednesday at 1,492 pence, valuing the business at 1.14 billion pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey and Paul Sandle)

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