Down 88% in 5 years, will the ASOS share price ever recover?

It’s been an ugly few years for the ASOS share price, but with the economy showing signs of strength again, is a recovery finally on the cards?

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Once an e-commerce darling, ASOS (LSE: ASC) has suffered a fairly dramatic fall from grace in recent years. The ASOS share price has plummeted a staggering 88% over the past five years, leaving many investors shell-shocked. So is the company now in real trouble, or are there signs of a recovery underway? I’ve taken a closer look.

The decline

The company’s descent can be attributed to a combination of factors, both internal and external. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains, leading to inventory shortages and fulfilment challenges. Rising costs and inflationary pressures further compounded the company’s woes, squeezing margins and undermining profitability.

Compounding these external pressures were internal missteps. International expansion proved overly ambitious, resulting in operational inefficiencies and ballooning costs. The company’s failure to adapt to changing consumer preferences and the competitive landscape further eroded its market position.

The numbers

The financial performance of the business reflects the depth of its struggles. In its latest earnings report, the company posted a loss of £248.1m for the previous year. Moreover, its net profit margin stands at a dismal -7.72%, a far cry from the lofty heights it once enjoyed.

However, there are glimmers of hope. Revenue for the last year reached £3.21bn , indicating that the brand still heavily resonates. Additionally, the company’s impressive gross margin of 43.44% suggests that its core business model remains viable.

Analysts also expect earnings to grow a remarkable 80.58% annually for the next five years. This projection, though ambitious, suggests that if the business can regain its footing and return to profitability, there could be a major recovery for the share price.


Despite its woes, valuation metrics suggest there could be an opportunity here. The company’s price-to-sales (P/S) ratio stands at a mere 0.1 times, indicating that investors are currently paying a fraction of its revenue in market capitalisation. This meagre valuation could imply that the market has already priced in the majority of struggles and future growth potential.

However, it’s important to note that the company carries a high level of debt, with a debt-to-equity ratio of 109.9%. This significant amount of leverage adds an element of risk and could hamper the company’s ability to invest in its turnaround efforts. While interest rates are high, and the economy is still in an uncertain place, this could be a dangerous looking balance sheet.

The future

Any potential recovery is fraught with challenges. Competition is intense from established retailers and upstart e-commerce players, all vying for a share of the lucrative online fashion market.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities. Strong brand recognition and a loyal customer base provide a solid foundation for a potential resurgence. By streamlining operations, optimising inventory management, and embracing innovative technologies, the company could regain its competitive edge.

Moreover, the growth of e-commerce and the increasing popularity of online shopping, particularly among younger demographics, bodes well for ASOS’s long-term prospects.


The journey ahead is undoubtedly arduous, but the potential rewards in the ASOS share price could be substantial.

However, an investment at this juncture requires a very healthy appetite for risk and a long-term perspective. For me, I’d want to see more of the company’s turnaround plan, how it plans to manage debt levels, and beat the competition before taking the plunge. I’ll be keeping clear for now.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Gordon Best has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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