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Online Fashion Store Defies The Recession

10 June 2010 - 13:30 by Sarah Collinson

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Safe shopping online has again triumphed over the high street with British online fashion retailer ASOS reporting a 44 per cent rise in pre-tax profits despite the recession. Pre-tax profits for the year to March rose from £14.1m a year ago to £20.4m. With plans to launch a US website in September followed by websites for France and Germany later in the year it seems that the group's numbers will continue to grow. ASOS presently ships to 167 countries with all sales coming through the British website.

ASOS, which stands for As Seen On Screen, targets the 16- to 34-year-old market with a wide range of clothes and accessories often seen on celebrities or cheaper copies of a similar style. It has 3.7 million registered users and provides a one-stop online shopping experience for the fashion conscious - with over 36,000 clothes, accessories and beauty lines available. ASOS specialises in 'fast fashion' regularly updating the site and introducing around 1,300 new products each week.

The chief executive of ASOS, Nick Robertson said the shift towards fashion shopping online among younger consumers was 'bigger than the economic cycle'. He stated that profits could have been higher but due to a predicted spending slump the firm was over cautious when it came to levels of stock last year. That slump failed to materialise for ASOS.

Many British high street retailers are moving to offer convenient and safe shopping online but few are matching ASOS' growth rates. Mr Robertson puts the success of the site down to "restless innovation." With plans for a new range of initiatives including a 'Marketplace' that will allow customers to re-sell unwanted items and a 'fashion-finder' that will include items not sold through ASOS, it looks as though there's no stopping the growing trend for online fashion shopping.