Online fashion retailer Asos is confident that added investment in marketing and increased delivery options will help the continued growth of its UK business.

Chief executive Nick Robertson said that he was “delighted” with its UK sales growth of 33% achieved in the six months to September 30. Total group sales rocketed 47%
to £96.5m.

Robertson said the performance was particularly pleasing as the online market and young fashion markets had proved more challenging this year, with Asos up against strong comparables.

“We have horrible comparables from last year when we had 100% more stock than the year before,”
he said. “We have also had the postal strike and growing youth unemployment figures.”

Sales were lifted by its international business, which was ahead 112% on last year. Asos said that it had a strong start to its second half with UK sales up 23% in the UK and 161% internationally.

Robertson said Asos is still best positioned to take advantage of the internet, which he said remains the retail channel with the greatest potential. He added he was confident he would still be able to keep the UK business growing.

“Our work around delivery and returns will put us in good stead along with the planned marketing activity,” he said.

Asos now offers free returns in the UK and free delivery for orders over £75. It is also trialling a premier service for free next-day delivery and a returns pick-up service for a yearly fee.

Robertson said that although he believed the postal strike had some impact on customer confidence in online, it was back to business as usual and he did not expect it to have an effect on Christmas sales. 

Asos last week launched a new micro-site for reviews that Robertson said are “hugely important”
for online shopping, which is all about “transparency”.

The number of “active” Asos customers rose by 32% year-on-year to 1.2 million at the end of October.