March 12, 2015 / 11:33 AM / 3 years ago

ASOS shares jump on stronger trading

A model walks on an in-house catwalk at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer ASOS (ASOS.L) signalled a return to form on Thursday when it reported a 19 percent rise in second quarter retail sales, sending its shares to a near 10 month high.

ASOS, which lost almost two thirds of its market value last year because of a warehouse fire and three profit warnings, said retail sales in the three months to Feb. 28 were driven by a 30 percent jump in UK sales and a 12 percent rise in international sales.

“The second quarter saw a marked acceleration of sales growth vs the first quarter, which should please investors today and reassure that ASOS is back on track,” analysts at Barclays said.

Chief Executive Nick Robertson said the international sales had been given a boost by their move to use zonal pricing, which allows them to charge vary prices in different countries.

As a result the group expects its profit before tax for the full year to be in line with market forecasts. Analysts polled by Reuters expect profit for the year ending August to hit 45 million pounds.

“Zonal pricing seems to be working and infrastructure investments are on track, putting the long-term positive thesis on ASOS back on track,” analysts at Barclays said.

Until last year ASOS had been the great success story of British retailing and a darling of the stock market, helped by its appeal to internet-savvy twentysomethings and high-profile fans including singer Rita Ora and U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.

Having floated at 20 pence in 2001, ASOS shares hit a high of 71.95 pounds last February. They finished last year at 25.76 pounds however and were on Thursday trading 20 percent higher at 39.37 pounds.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Neil Maidment

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