Equity Analysis /
United Kingdom

GB : Asos - UK drives 1H’21 with mixed international performance

    Adam Tomlinson
    Adam Tomlinson

    Analyst - Consumer Discretionary

    Anubhav Malhotra
    Wayne Brown
    12 April 2021
    Published by

    1H’21 (ending Feb) group sales increased 24% yoy, with order count +15%, ABV down -3%, and lower returns rate accounting for the balance. Sales were very strong in the UK (+39%), while growth in US, Europe and RoW remained around 16-18% on constant currency. Gross margin declined another -200bps (-140bps in FY’20) reflecting product mix shift under COVID, investment into pricing in Europe, higher freight costs and FX. Adj. EBITDA margin expanded +320bps to 9.2% driven by lower returns rate reducing warehousing and distribution costs, lower payroll costs and removal of non-strategic costs. Adjusted PBT increased 275% to £112.9m, including a £48.5m net COVID benefit. Asos retained a cautious outlook for 2H in light of COVID-related uncertainties. Asos’s 1H’21 revenue growth remains below Zalando (+43% GMV in last two quarters) and Boohoo (+39% over Sep-Dec’20). Setting this against the 446% increase in the share price from Apr’20 lows, +21% YTD and uncertainty around the longer-term profit outlook, we maintain our HOLD.