LONDON (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer ASOS (>> ASOS plc) on Thursday forecast sales growth for the full 2016-17 year at the upper end of its 30-35 percent guided range, as it reported continued strong trading both in its home market and overseas.
Established in 2000 for fashion-conscious twenty-somethings, ASOS was an early e-commerce success story, but is seeing growing competition from the likes of British rival Boohoo (>> Boohoo.Com PLC) and Germany's Zalando (>> Zalando) as well as from traditional store-based chains who have invested heavily in their online offerings.
Shares in ASOS, which listed at 20 pence in 2001, have increased 30 percent over the last year, as the depreciation of sterling versus the U.S. dollar and euro post the Brexit vote has allowed the retailer to reduce prices and drive sales in its international markets.
The stock was down 1.5 percent at 5,721 pence at 0714, reflecting some disappointment the guidance on sales was not accompanied by a profit upgrade.
ASOS has a market capitalisation of 4.76 billion pounds - not far behind Marks & Spencer's (>> Marks & Spencer Group) 5.12 billion pounds.
ASOS said total retail sales rose 32 percent to 660.1 million pounds in the four months to June 30, with UK sales up 16 percent and international sales up 44 percent.
The retail gross margin was flat versus the prior year.
“Strong first half sales momentum has continued through the third period supported by our ongoing investment in our customer proposition and in price," Chief Executive Nick Beighton said.
ASOS said it expected full-year pretax profit to be in line with the market consensus of 79.4 million pounds, up from 63.7 million pounds in 2015-16.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton and Jane Merriman)