Fashion e-tailer Asos will expand its activewear offering as locked-down clients spurned party outfits in favor of sportswear and exercise gear during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping the company to almost quadruple full-year profits.
The company said grabbing a greater share of the “huge” sportswear market along with beauty products is now a priority after sales of jogging bottoms and sports tops soared by 50 percent, driven by the lockdown.
Total sales rose by 19 percent to £3.3 billion (€3.66bn - $4.31bn) in the year to Aug. 31. Pre-tax profits were boosted by £45 million (€50m - $58.72m) by a Covid-19 tailwind as fewer items were returned by customers less concerned with the fit of activewear or unwilling to make the trip to the post office to send unwanted items back. U.K. sales were up by 18 percent and by more than 20 percent in the U.S. and EU during the year.
Asos said focus on curating and presenting “the best edit of sports lifestyle and activewear product … from the most globally relevant sports brands will further support our penetration in this category”.
Cost cuts on areas such as marketing, and gained efficiencies from more automation at its European warehouse, saw pre-tax profit rise by 329 percent to £142.1 million (€157.6m - $185.3m) for the year to August 31.
Another 3.1 million shoppers were added to Asos’ active customer base, taking the total to 23.4 million. However, the group remained cautious on outlook because of the impact of the pandemic and potential financial hit from Brexit.
“The normal pattern of social events is not going to resume in the short term so whilst we have confidence in our ability to continue growing our market share globally, we are cognisant of the economic impact this crisis is having on our 20-something customers and the pressure on their disposable incomes,” the company said.
Asos is also launching a new lower-priced brand called AsYou as it prepares for a tightening of consumer spending.