ASOS profit jumps on overseas growth

LONDON - British online fashion retailer ASOS met forecasts with a 43-percent rise in year profit as stellar growth overseas offset a weaker home market.


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"We remain positive in our outlook for 2012/13 as we continue our journey to becoming the world's number one online fashion destination," said Chief Executive Nick Robertson, who is targeting 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) of sales by 2015.

The firm, which targets 16 to 34-year-old women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Tulisa Contostavlos and Kate Moss, said on Thursday it made a pretax profit of 40.9 million pounds in the year to March 31.

That compared with analysts' average forecast of 40.3 million pounds.

Group revenue rose 46 percent to 495 million pounds, though retail sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter to 34 percent from 46 percent in the third.

International retail sales more than doubled over the year, benefiting from the launch of country specific websites in Australia, Spain and Italy, while UK retail sales were up 7 percent. Gross margin improved 180 basis points.

International sales now account for 59 percent of total retail sales.

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

The stock closed Wednesday at 1,546 pence, valuing the business at 1.19 billion pounds.

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