British retailer ASOS suspends orders after warehouse fire

LONDON, June 21 Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:47am EDT

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - British online fashion retailer ASOS said on Saturday it had been forced to suspend orders and take down its website following a fire at its main warehouse.

ASOS, which warned earlier this month that its full-year profits would miss forecasts by 30 percent, took the action after the blaze broke out late on Friday at the warehouse in Barnsley in northern England.

"Fortunately nobody was hurt but we are unable to take any orders until we can ascertain the extent of the damage," ASOS said in a statement.

Ten fire engines with more than 60 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze at its height at the 60,000 square metre warehouse, South Yorkshire Fire Service said

"One fire engine is still there with thermal imaging cameras to ensure it doesn't reignite," the fire service said on its Twitter website. An investigation into the cause is due to begin later on Saturday.

ASOS, a former darling of the retail sector, spooked investors in March when it announced plans to spend on infrastructure to meet future demand, at the expense of short-term profits.

Its profit warning two weeks ago wiped 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion) off its market value.

ASOS, which stands for As Seen on Screen, was founded in 2000 by current chief executive Nick Robertson, and has grown rapidly as it met the demand for fast-changing fashions.

It is now investing to increase its offerings around the world, with international sales making up around 60 percent of the group total. ($1 = 0.5876 British Pounds) (Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Stephen Powell)