Asos shares slump on profits warning

Image copyright
Getty Images

Shares in Asos have sunk after the online fashion giant said that this year’s profits are likely to be much lower than expectations.

The retailer said sales growth in the US and Europe had been held back by problems at its warehouses.

These problems meant that the range of clothes available to shoppers in these markets had been limited.

As a result, it now expects to report profits of £30m-£35m this year, well below the £55m forecast by analysts.

“Embedding the change from the major overhaul of infrastructure and technology in our US and European warehouses has taken longer than we had anticipated, impacting our stock availability, sales and cost base in these regions,” said Asos chief executive Nick Beighton.

He added that the company was clear on what was causing the problems and was making progress on resolving them.

However, Asos said that while the warehouse problems were “short-term in nature, we do expect it may take some time to regain and reactivate any impacted customers”.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Total sales across the group rose by 12% in the four months to 30 June, Asos said, and in the UK – where trading “remained robust” – sales grew by 16%.

However, the “operational challenges” at its warehouses in Berlin and Atlanta had caused problems in the US and Europe, where sales were up 12% and 5% respectively.

Shares in Asos opened down 20% following the statement, before recovering some ground to stand 12% lower.

This is the third time in eight months that Asos has issued a profit warning and the company’s share price has now more than halved over the past year.

Analysts at Liberum said the latest warning suggested that serious questions needed answering.

“The operational issues in Europe and the US signal to us a lack of enough senior leaders in the business with the adequate skill-set in the business to undertake the complex capital projects ongoing,” they said.