Asos boss Nick Robertson has called the bottom of the fashion etailer’s overseas woes after pushing the button on lowering prices.
The etailer this morning reported sales down 2% in its international arm in the three months to November 30. Sales have been falling in Asos’ overseas business for some time after fluctuations in foreign exchange rates made products appear more expensive.
“It’s bloody obvious, if you reduce prices by 10-15% you’ll get an uplift [in sales].”
Nick Robertson, chief executive at Asos
As a result Asos is introducing zonal pricing to bring down prices and make its proposition more attractive against local competition, and Robertson is confident the strategy will work.
Robertson told Retail Week that Asos’ international sales have reached the “bottom”. “This performance is the worst we’ll see it. It’s bloody obvious, if you reduce prices by 10-15% you’ll get an uplift [in sales].
“The UK is on fire. Internationally there are a lot more challenges, it’s been the story of the last year or so.”
He added the city will react well to Asos’ strategy to boost the fortunes of the overseas arm. “The levers we can and have pulled will impact our international performance,” said Robertson.
Asos’ UK sales surged 24% in the quarter, despite facing challenges including completing its automation programme in Barnsley and the warm autumn.
“It was a hell of a programme to land and deliver in peak,” said Robertson. He added the warm autumn did have some impact on its performance but he said due to Asos’ overseas reach “overall it did not make a huge difference” to the group’s performance.
Black Friday was phenomenal
Roberston added that Black Friday was “phenomenal” and the biggest ever trading day for Asos, which was at one point selling seven items a second, Robertson said.
He said that due to key events including Black Friday and November pay day, Asos’ busiest days are behind it and that it will have had a good Christmas.
Despite the Sales extravaganza of last weekend, which also included Cyber Monday, Robertson said the quarter was, overall, less promotional than last year, across the group.
Robertson said heading into Christmas, consumer sentiment “hasn’t improved substantially” from last year. But he added: “What has improved is the desire to shop online. We’ll see another step change this year, I’m sensing that, due to demand and retailers’ ability to deliver.”