Online retailer ASOS has reason to celebrate after seeing a leap in earnings following a strong year of expansion of its International business, which more than doubled sales.
Total retail sales grew 49% to £481.6m (2011: £324.1m), with international operations now accounting for 59% of these (2011: 43%). International retail sales surged by 103% to £283.7m during the year, while UK sales grew 7% to £197.9m. Total group revenues were up 46% to £495m (2011: £339.7m).
Profit before tax and exceptional items was up 43% on the prior year at £40.9m (2011: £28.6m), above consensus estimates of £40.1m. Profit before tax, which includes one-off costs relating to the warehouse transition, increased £14.6m to £30.3m (2011: £15.7m).
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The firm's retail gross margin improved by 290 basis points (bps) in the year and the overall gross margin improved by 180bps to 50.9% (2011: 49.1%).
The company said in a statement: "Our rapid and profitable global expansion continues with the launch of three new country websites over the period in Australia, Spain and Italy, as well as the establishment of our first overseas marketing office in Australia. We also continued our investment in our global free shipping proposition. The next stage in our international development is to introduce other small in-country teams to amplify our marketing efforts in the countries where we have websites.
"We remain committed to our goal of achieving £1bn sales from five major markets by 2015. All our International markets are performing strongly and our unique position on the global stage of Internet apparel retailers is now firmly established.
Basic earnings per share increased from 27.3p to 39.8p. Cash and equivalents at the end of the year rose from £4.7m to £24.3m.
The company has chosen not to pay a dividend, saying that it believes it is better to continue to reinvest the cash generated by the business to exploit the substantial global growth opportunities both in the UK and internationally.
The share price rose 10.18% to 1,677p by 13:17.
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