Fashion etailer Asos’ profits leaped in the first half of the year as visits to its website in that period exceeded a billion for the first time.

Asos posted a 10% rise in interim pre-tax profits to £29.9m on sales up 25% to £1.16bn.

Asos’ UK retail sales advanced 22% to £414.5m, while international retail sales climbed 28% to £716.8m.

Asos reported that active customer numbers climbed 17%, the average basket value rose 2% and order frequency was ahead 8%.

Over the six months to February 28 there were 29.9 million orders placed altogether, an increase of 28%.

During the same period Asos launched 1,200 digital platform ‘releases’, “demonstrating the flexibility and pace of change being delivered”. The releases ranged from app design improvements such as enhanced visual search to refreshed site navigation. This increased from 1,300 during the previous full year.

The latter project was described as “the largest design change to the Asos shopping experience for many years and significantly improves how customers search, browse and explore products”.

Increased investment

Asos chief executive Nick Beighton termed the period ”undoubtedly another strong trading performance” for the group.

He said that he was “particularly pleased” with the business’ performance ”given the high investment we are putting through or organisation and the high level of change”. Investment is likely to fall between £230m and £250m this year and is mainly being spent on advances in tech. 

Beighton said: “We are increasing our trialling and investment within artificial intelligence. This on the back of our visual search capability. This is going to be a game changer for us in many important areas, not only improving customer experience but also lowering the cost of how we operate our business model.”

Asos is also developing its augmented reality capabilities. It is currently trialling showing product on three different body types via AR. This is limited to around 200 products with the business gathering customer feedback before any potential roll out.