Agile ASOS continues to shine bright throughout COVID-19

Following today’s release of ASOS figures for the four months ending 31 December 2020, Chloe Collins, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments:

“ASOS has proven itself to be a COVID-19 winner once again, with group retail sales throughout the final four months of 2020 soaring by £250.9m on the year to almost £1.33bn. As store closures were reinstated towards the end of the year, clashing with the key selling periods of Black Friday and Christmas, ASOS’ superior digital proposition and top of mind appeal has enabled it to continue winning over apparel shoppers, particularly in the UK. The retailer expects profit before tax for FY2020/21 to be at the top end of market expectations, with an anticipated benefit of at least £40m throughout H1, thanks to its fast reaction to successful lockdown categories such as loungewear, sportswear and beauty, which have brought reduced returns rates as they are less fit-dependent.

“These results are particularly impressive given ASOS’ usual position as a partywear destination throughout the Christmas period, a category which was rendered redundant in 2020 as social gatherings were prohibited. However, enhanced influencer marketing, which ASOS has often shied away from in the past, helped generate excitement around its casualwear offer, with the retailer releasing regular style edits with the likes of Love Island stars, model and Instagrammer Jayde Pierce, and most impressively, Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock. This strategy has allowed ASOS to better compete with the boohoo group for the attention of younger shoppers, as has its new in-house womenswear brand ‘AsYou’, which launched at the end of October with lower price points than ASOS’ core ranges. AsYou also features a high prevalence of skimpy, glamorous styles which draw similarities with those of boohoo.com and PrettyLittleThing, however another national lockdown in England was announced days after the brand’s launch, which would have limited its initial potential.

“ASOS clearly has confidence in its future, announcing last week that it has invested £90m in a fourth fulfilment centre in the UK, creating 2,000 jobs. This will allow ASOS to continue its growth trajectory without compromising on its delivery speed and efficiency which contribute so much to its success. Automation is also set to be incorporated into its US fulfilment centre this year, which will support its international growth, which outpaced its domestic UK market in FY2019/20.”

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