As Britain hits yet another recession and out of season sale signs are a regular feature down the high street, online fashion retailer Asos.com doesn’t show any signs of suffering. Few brands are posting a rise in sales right now, let alone an increase of almost 50 per cent. But the online fashion and beauty site Asos.com has performed consistently well throughout the credit crunch and continues to thrive, even in the face of the dreaded double dip. Where Asos originally was always associated with fashionable pieces for a young market at discount rates, now with the successful launch of three different ranges, covering high end and niche lines, Asos is offering a variety of reliable offerings.
"The launch of Asos 12 years ago was a game-changer for the fashion sector," says Caroline Nodder, editor of industry magazine Drapers. "Most retailers before that time didn't believe consumers would ever fully embrace the idea of buying clothes online. Recently, although growth in the UK market has plateaued, Asos has grown its business in international markets such as Australia, where it now has a £100m operation. It also continues to lead the pack with magazine-style online content, collaborations on exclusive clothing ranges, ease of purchase through mobiles, and quick delivery options."
The latest of these exclusive launches is a collaboration between Asos and the cult London boutique bStore, which features fun, summer print based separates. It was the perfect partner for us," explains bStore's womenswear designer Chloe Struyk, "as we're both young and creative in our offering. Where a lot of brand partnerships limit creativity in favour of commerce, with Asos we could push the boundaries a little, sitting alongside the brave buys they have from other brands."
It's a far cry from the site's beginnings, as purveyor of copycat celebrity items – the name stands for "As Seen on Screen". This has become a minority part of the business in recent years. Instead, Asos has focused on fashion in high and low budget incarnations but always with an eye on the more directional aspects.