ASOS plc is a renowned British fashion and cosmetic online retailer that has been promoting fashion democracy for more than 22 years. The company started its journey in 2000 with an aim to address young adults. Currently, this online retailer sells more than 850 brands and a wide range of fashionable clothing and accessories of its own. ASOS has fulfillment centers in the UK, Europe, and the USA from where the company ships products to 196 countries.
This online fashion retailer has a special place in people’s hearts because of its various initiatives to promote equality, labor rights, LGBTQ rights, social impact, and the protection of the environment. In 2021, the company generated a record revenue of £3.91 billion, a 19% increase from the previous year. However, the company had to witness a significant drop in revenue last year because of the cost-of-living crisis and trade suspension in Russia.
The name ASOS stands for AsSeenOnScreen. Initially, the company had the tagline “Buy what you see on film and TV” and they aimed to sell similar types of clothes that appeared on TV or in films at that time. ASOS has taken several significant initiatives to promote the idea of “Fashion Democracy”. In 2017, ASOS ranked 3rd in the Forbes “Innovative Growth Companies” list. The company also appeared in the Forbes list of “World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies” in 2022. Now, ASOS has headquarters at Greater London House and in Camden Town as well as additional offices in Birmingham and Berlin.
|ASOS||British Online Fashion & Cosmetic Retailer|
|Industry||Clothing Industry, Online Retailer|
|Traded As||LSE: ASC|
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Founder||Nick Robertson, Andrew Regan, Deborah Thorpe, and Quentin Griffiths|
|Key People||José Antonio Ramos Calamonte (CEO), Ian Dyson (Chair)|
|Founded||3rd June 2000|
|Products||Clothes, Beauty Products,Accessories, & Shoes|
|Revenue||(Increase) £3,936.5 M (2022)|
|Net Income||(Decrease) £30.8 million (2022)|
|Operating Income||(Decrease) £9.8 million (2022)|
ASOS sells a wide variety of clothing and cosmetic products through their online platform, such as dresses, tops, shirts, vests, blouses, leggings and trousers, skirts, workwear suits, shorts, jeans, coats and jackets, shoes, nightwear and lingerie, and swimwear. You will also find various accessories and beauty products on the company’s website, such as hair accessories, jewelry, hats, sunglasses, scarves, belts, socks and tights, moisturizers, body lotions, make-up products, shampoos and conditioners, hair styling and hair treatment products, etc.
ASOS: History and Key Events
- The Year 2000:ASOS was founded by Nick Robertson, Quentin Griffiths, Andrew Regan, and Deborah Thorpe on 3rd June 2000.
- The Year 2001: ASOS was introduced to the AIM or Alternative Investment Market on the London Stock Exchange.
- The Year 2003:The shareholders changed the company’s name from AsSeenOnScreen Holdings PLC to ASOS plc and from AsSeenOnScreen Limited to ASOS.com Limited.
- The Year 2004: The company sales increased significantly to report a maiden profit. In the same year, the company introduced its own tag for women’s clothing.
- The Year 2005: ASOS had to face a loss of £5m and the shutting of the business for more than six weeks due to the Buncefield Fuel Depot explosion.
- The Year 2008: This online retailer introduced kids’ wear.
- The Year 2010: The company decided to stop selling kidswear and only focus on young adults. They also launched three global online clothing shops in the USA, France, and Germany.
- The Year 2011: ASOS started their business in Spain, Italy, and Australia.
- The Year 2012: The company opened two international offices- first in Sydney, Australia, and then in New York.
- The Year 2013: ASOS showed significant global expansion by entering Russia and China.
- The Year 2014: The company sponsored the Formula One team, McLaren.
- The Year 2015: ASOS became the largest independent online fashion retailer in the UK and had more than 4000 employees at that time.
- The Year 2016:Buzzfeed News published an investigative report accusing ASOS of poor work conditions at their warehouses. However, the spokespersons of the company opposed the accusation by saying that the complaints in the Buzzfeed article did not reflect the overall working conditions.
- The Year 2019:ASOS sent emails to its clients stating that they are going to change the return policy due to the manipulation by the customers as well as the high environmental cost of the previous policy.
- The Year 2020: The workers union accused ASOS of not enforcing adequate preventive measures during the pandemic. The company opposed the claim by stating that they have effectively changed its operations. Later in this year, the company announced that small business transactions would be free of commission rates to support the sellers during the pandemic.
- The Year 2021: ASOS built a partnership with DPDgroup’s DPD (the delivery company) and encouraged shoppers to donate their unwanted clothes to charity. This year, ASOS also partnered with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics and acquired three brands of Arcadia Group, such as Topman, Topshop, and Miss Selfridge. Ian Dyson turned into the Chair of the company.
- The Year 2022: ASOS suspended trading in Russia because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The year 2021 was a great financial year for ASOS when the company generated £3.91 billion in revenue and which was a 19% increase from the previous year. In that year, the company also had an operating profit of £190 million. Since 2016, ASOS has been gaining significant profits except in 2019 and 2022. In 2019, the company faced IT warehouse issues while in 2022, the suspension of trading in Russia resulted in a drop of approximately £14m in the company’s revenue. The cost-of-living crisis was also another crucial factor behind the decrease in ASOS sales. Look at the following table to know more about the financial growth of ASOS from 2016 to 2022.
|Year||Users (mm)||Orders (mm)||Revenue (£bn)||Brands||Operating Income/ Loss(£mm)||Average Basket Value(£)|
To defend the idea of “Fashion Democracy”, ASOS promotes choice for all and body positivity. The company provides its own brand products in over 30 different sizes. You will have to pay the same price for all sizes. They work with over 200 models to represent different types of audiences and avoid stereotypes. They have also become an official partner of the British Paralympic Association to provide the formal and ceremonies outfits for the athletes of the ParalympicsGB team.
People & Planet
The company provides essential support to every supplier and maintains high ethical standards and transparency to ensure the workers feel safe and their rights remain protected. ASOS also focuses on producing animal-free products and follows strict guidelines for animal-derived materials so that no animal suffers because of fashion.
This online fashion retailer built ASOS Foundation in 2013 for complete charity purposes. This charity Foundation provides support, training, and infrastructure to young adults who do not have the opportunities to express their potential.
ASOS plc is one of the largest and most popular fashion retailers in the UK. The company has been effectively using online social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to inspire and influence the fashion choices of users and promote its brand. However, the company did not do well last year due to multiple crises, including the cost-of-living crisis. How ASOS deals with this situation will determine its future progress.