RPT-UPDATE 1-ASOS first-quarter sales rise 31 percent

Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:31am EDT

July 10 (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer ASOS posted a 31 percent rise in first-quarter retail sales, buoyed by a strong performance in the United States and Australia and an improving UK.

The retailer, which targets young women wanting to emulate the designer outfits of celebrities, said on Tuesday retail sales rose to 137 million pounds ($212.66 million) in the three months to June 30.

UK sales rose 8 percent. "Our UK performance was particularly encouraging given the current climate," chief executive Nick Robertson said in a statement.

UK consumer spending has been hurt by fears of rising unemployment, lacklustre growth in wages and government austerity measures. However, the overall retail picture was brighter in June, as the Queen's Jubilee holiday helped boost British retail sales.

ASOS said business outside its home market grew strongly, with international sales now 65 percent of the group's total, compared with 57 percent last year.

US sales surged 83 percent, sales in the European Union rose 27 percent and sales in the rest of the world, predominantly Australia, were up 61 percent in the first quarter.

"We remain positive in our outlook, and continue to trade in line with expectations," Robertson said.

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