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Ian Pollard: ASOS Badly Impacted With Online Growth Weakest For Years

ASOS ASC experienced a significant deterioration in “the important trading month of November” and conditions remain challenging. As a result, it has had to reduce expectations for the current financial year. Total retail sales for the 3 months to the end of November rose by 12%, the UK leading the way with a 19% rise and Rest of the World bottom with a fall of 2%. November was seriously behind expectations and there is almost an air of desperation in some of the company’s comments.

Consumer confidence is seen as weakening and growth in online clothing sales is the weakest of recent years. Heavy discounting and promotions will see the weighting between first and second half profitability transformed from the 30/70% seen in recent years to an even more substantial weighting towards the second half. Trading conditions across its two largest European markets of Germany and France, which account for c.60% of EU sales, have become significantly more challenging, with growth at 15% for the year to date.In Rest of the World performance has been significantly behind expectations with an actual fall. Not many companies are so badly hit that they are  forced to recalibrate expectations for the full year, at the end of the first quarter

Hunting plc HTG updates before the December year end that current volatile market conditions will impact short term budgetary decision making by its customers with possible deferrals of work in 2019. Group results to the end of November 2018 remained in line with management’s expectations,  but some market softness has been observed despite progress in the US during 2018. 2019 is expected to start with a cautious outlook, but Hunting believes it is in a robust position to manage the challenges it faces.

Safestyle UK plc SFE is confident thatits recovery and performance in 2019 will be ahead of current market expectations after delivering an underlying loss before tax for 2018 of between £8.2m and £8.6m)

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