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UK's ASOS a Christmas winner after stellar sales growth

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British online fashion retailer ASOS on Thursday beat forecasts for sales growth in the key Christmas period, underlining the ability of the online-only players to out-manoeuvre their traditional rivals.

[LONDON] British online fashion retailer ASOS on Thursday beat forecasts for sales growth in the key Christmas period, underlining the ability of the online-only players to out-manoeuvre their traditional rivals.

ASOS's performance, and that of online rival Boohoo , further illustrates how the UK retail sector, and clothing in particular, is being transformed by the internet.

In stark contrast to their stellar numbers Britain's biggest clothing retailer Marks & Spencer this month reported another fall in underlying clothing sales in the Christmas quarter, while rival Next recorded only a small rise.

ASOS, which sells fashion aimed at 20-somethings, said total retail sales rose 30 per cent to £790.4 million (S$1.5 billion) in the four months to Dec 31 - ahead of analysts'average forecast of growth of 27.4 per cent.

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ASOS and Boohoo are winning market share from traditional high street retailers, tapping-in to a generation of consumers who shop on mobile phones and feast on social media.

ASOS said UK sales increased 23 per cent to £300.9 million despite "a challenging market", while international sales were up 35 per cent to £489.5 million.

The group, which said its performance was driven by its "unique and differentiated product and proposition" said there was no change to its financial guidance for the 2017-18 year.

In October ASOS had increased its sales guidance for the year to growth of 25-30 per cent.

Shares in ASOS, which listed at 20 pence in 2001, have increased by a third over the last year.

They closed on Wednesday at 6,874 pence, valuing the business at £5.65 billion - some £780 million more than the 134-year old Marks & Spencer.

REUTERS

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