Zalando sales growth slows during mild winter

BERLIN Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:03am EST

BERLIN Feb 14 (Reuters) - Europe's biggest online fashion retailer Zalando saw sales growth slow in the second half of 2013 as a mild winter let to high levels of discounting and it did not open in new markets.

The Berlin-based retailer, which started selling shoes in Germany five years ago and now ships 1,500 different brands to 15 countries, is viewed as a prime candidate for a listing this year and competes with Britain's ASOS.

It said 2013 sales grew 52 percent to 1.76 billion euros ($2.41 billion) with the growth rate in the first half helped by the seven new markets it entered in summer 2012, and a late start of the summer and a mild winter causing high discounting.

Last month, shares in Zalando rival ASOS tumbled after it said retail sales growth slowed to 38 percent in the four months to Dec. 31, compared with 47 percent in the fourth quarter of its 2012-13 year.

Zalando said Christina Stenbeck, chairman of its biggest investor Swedish firm Kinnevik, would take over as chairperson of its supervisory board from Kinnevik Chief Executive Mia Brunell, who is stepping down from Kinnevik.