Founded in 2000, Asos has become one of the world’s best-known pureplay retailers by acting as a global fast-fashion destination for 20-somethings with a wide variety of content and localised experiences, although it has lost its way somewhat of late. 

It delivers from fulfilment centres in the UK, US and Germany to almost every country in the world, selling over 70,000 products across nearly 900 brands, and it has a growing own-label offering, with about 50% of product exclusive to Asos. It has most recently delved into sportswear and skincare.

In early 2021 the etailer acquired Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and athleisure brand HIIT out of administration following the collapse of Arcadia. This has created an opportunity for Asos to apply its capabilities to drive its global growth and accelerate its brands strategy.

Asos aims to give all its customers a truly frictionless experience, with an ever-greater number of different payment methods and hundreds of local deliveries and return options, including Next-Day Delivery and Same-Day Delivery.

Hit by the shift back to in-store shopping, and further impacted by supply chain issues, higher returns rates and the cost-of-living crisis, Asos swung into the red in the year to end-August 2022 (FY2022), posting an operating loss of £9.8m on group revenues just 0.7% ahead at £3,936.5m.

On the back of this weak performance, new CEO José Antonio Ramos Calamonte has laid out plans to revitalise the business by sharpening its operating model to ensure tighter stock management and faster speed to market as well as reviewing its international operations. Ramos is also putting company culture at the heart of his turnaround strategy as he strives to recreate the entrepreneurial spirit and drive for innovation that made Asos successful in the first place. See UK and International strategy  

As of early 2023, Asos was focused on executing the final stages of its Driving Change agenda, through which it intends to create strong foundations for its next phase of growth.

In the wake of the poor FY2022 performance, the ever-acquisitive Frasers Group has been building up a stake in Asos. In June 2023, amid reports in The Sunday Times of a potential takeover bid for Asos by Turkish online retailer Trendyol, Frasers raised its holding from 7.4% to 8.8%. At the time, Frasers was Asos’ third largest shareholder. In early September it went on to increase its stake in Asos to 19.8%.

Asos Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of the business, investing in strategic partnerships with promising fashion technology companies around the world.

Innovation rating: 4

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