ASOS Plc Holdings posted results for its 2018 fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31, and international sales are boosting sales growth for the web-only apparel retailer.
Domestic U.K. sales were up 23% over the last year to 861.3 million pounds ($1.12 billion), while sales from other countries rose 27% to 1.49 billion pounds ($1.95 billion). Total retail sales for ASOS, No. 133 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500, grew from 1.88 billion pounds ($2.44 billion) to 2.36 billion pounds ($3.07 billion), a 26% rise for the year.
Localization has helped drive global sales. Over the last year, ASOS added native language sites for Sweden and the Netherlands and several local currencies for the more than 200 markets ASOS sells to. The retailer also expects that a new warehouse in Atlanta will help accelerate U.S. sales, which grew 19% to 300 million pounds ($390.9 million) during the last year, by cutting shipping costs. The retailer will also expand marketing in North America with the new warehouse coming online. That 1 million-square-foot facility is expected to fulfill all U.S. orders by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.
The U.S. fulfillment center also brings ASOS opportunities to work with new American brands, since some brands want the promise of the faster, cheaper delivery associated with a local warehouse. The retailer is in talks with apparel makers like J. Crew Group Inc. (No. 53) to bring brands like J. Crew and Madewell onto the site. The value of going to a site like ASOS over Amazon or Macy’s is the shopper, according to CEO Nick Beighton.
“I think [U.S. brands] probably go to a site that is fashion, it is 20-something focused, it’s got high growth and presents their product beautifully,” he said on a talk with analysts transcribed by Seeking Alpha.
ASOS also reported a growing customer base, with 18.4 million people buying from the retailer in the last year, up 19% from the year before. Annual order volume is also up to 63.2 million orders placed, a 27% increase. ASOS added more than 300 new brands over the last year. Many of those are in the relaunched Face + Body shop, which sells personal care products, which now includes brand from The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. (No. 70) such as MAC Cosmetics and Clinique.
Revenue from ASOS’s owned brands under the ASOS Design umbrella now accounts for about 40% of revenue overall, and another 10% come from exclusive products only available through ASOS. That means about half of all revenue comes from items exclusive to ASOS, giving it a defense from other online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) and Walmart Inc. (No. 3). Amazon in particular has expanded its private-label apparel offerings, with more than 60 brands for men, women and children, and there may be more on the way according to recent patent filings.
Profits also grew for ASOS, despite investments in international markets, growing from 958.3 million pounds ($1.25 billion) to 1.24 billion pounds ($1.61 billion), a 29% increase. Part of that is due to increased automation at its main European distribution center, which improved efficiency without adding additional labor costs.Favorite