A fall in basket value might be a worrying sign at some retailers but at online fashion specialist Asos it does not look like a problem.

A fall in basket value might be a worrying sign at some retailers but at online fashion specialist Asos it does not look like a problem.

The 6% decline was driven by investment in price - the average selling price came down by 9% - which in turn was rewarded by a rise in units per basket, contributing to a 33% sales increase and an 11% advance in first-half profits.

Asos has been one of the greatest retail entrepreneurial success stories of recent years and its ambition and appeal show no signs of abating.

Asos is scheduled to launch in Russia and preparations are well under way for a much anticipated debut in China.

The retailer has done well to key into fashion trends that deliver global appeal, and own-brand development has played a crucial role.

Own-brand accounts for more than 50% of sales. That is not only testament to its closeness to the consumer, but the associated product exclusivity means its wares cannot be bought elsewhere - a powerful weapon in the age of showrooming and online price comparison.

As well as being attuned to trends in the world at large, Asos has maintained firm internal disciplines and its focus on technological capabilities.

The biggest challenge the retailer faces is surely to maintain its entrepreneurial culture, and retain its reputation and expertise in innovation while taking the best from the expertise of big retailers. The arrival of former Marks & Spencer fashion supremo Kate Bostock as director of product and trading should help with that.

The retailer is shortly to say goodbye to veteran Jon Kamaluddin, who has been at the business nine years as finance director and then international director.

The departure of long-standing directors always creates uncertainty but, as long as Jessie J or next year’s equivalent is seen decked out in Asos fashion, the etailer should stay on course in its quest to break the £1bn sales barrier.