ASOS profit jumps 275% on strong demand during pandemic


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A woman is seen shopping on ASOS the online fashion store on a laptop.
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British online fashion retailer ASOS on Thursday reported a 275% increase in first-half profit, driven by the popularity of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASOS, which sells fashion aimed at 20-somethings, has traded through coronavirus lockdowns while store-based rivals have had to close shops. It also benefited from fewer products being returned by shoppers, as well as investment in product, pricing and marketing.

The group made an adjusted pretax profit of £112.9 million ($155.3 million) for the six months to Feb. 28, up from £30.1 million in the first half of its 2019-20 year.

Sales rose 25% at constant exchange rates to £1.98 billion as its active customer base increased by 1.5 million to 24.9 million.

ASOS said its expectations for its full 2020-21 year had increased in line with the first-half performance, with its outlook for the second half unchanged.

The group said it was well positioned to capture demand for event-led product when lifestyles normalize.

However, it was retaining caution on the near term consumer outlook due to uncertainty over the economic prospects of it 20-somethings customer base, the timing of global restrictions lifting and possible further COVID-19 spikes.

Prior to the update analysts' average forecast was profit of £164 million, up from £142 million made in 2019-20.

In February, ASOS bought the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands from the administrators of Philip Green's collapsed Arcadia group for £265 million aiming to accelerate its multi-brand strategy.

ASOS said the integration was progressing to plan.

Shares in ASOS, up 21% in 2021, closed Wednesday at 5,788 pence, valuing the business at £5.8 billion.