Online fashion retailer Asos has emerged as a Christmas retail winner as UK sales grew by nearly a quarter despite a “challenging market”.
Shares in the UK-based group rose 3% after the update underlined the advantage of internet-only players over traditional rivals with large numbers of bricks-and-mortar stores – many of which had a tough festive season.
Asos said total group sales were up 30% to £790m for the four months to the end of December, while the UK saw a 23% increase to £301m.
Chief executive Nick Beighton said: “We achieved an exceptional performance in the UK, whilst momentum in international sales continued.”
The figures come after Marks & Spencer, Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, saw a fall in like-for-like sales over the Christmas quarter.
Rival Next managed a 1.5% increase in full-price sales over the 54 days to Christmas Eve, but only because double digit online growth made up for a decline in stores.
Many consumer businesses are facing a struggle amid a squeeze on household incomes, after several months in which inflation has been running ahead of pay growth.
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Asos, founded in 2000, is winning market share from established high street retailers by tapping into a generation of consumers who shop by mobile phone and heavily use social media.
Mr Beighton said its UK offer had been boosted by the launch of “try before you buy” and same-day delivery options.