ASOS maintains heady rate of sales growth

LONDON Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:15am EST

LONDON Dec 11 (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer ASOS maintained a heady rate of sales growth in its first quarter, buoyed by strong trading both in its home market and overseas.

The retailer, which targets young women looking to emulate the designer looks of celebrities like Nicole Scherzinger, Tulisa Contostavlos and Cheryl Cole, said on Tuesday its retail sales rose 30 percent to 165.8 million pounds ($266.5 million) in the three months to Nov. 30.

That compares with analysts' forecasts of about 29 percent and growth of 31 percent in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

ASOS, whose celebrity fans include United States First Lady Michelle Obama, said its retail gross margin fell 100 basis points year-on-year, reflecting a strong comparative period, the UK accounting for a larger percentage of total sales than initially planned and price cuts.

"We remain positive in our outlook," the firm said.