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ASOS plc Back In Business After Distribution Centre Fire

ASOSThis morning, ASOS (LSE: ASC) issued a statement regarding the fire that broke out on Friday morning at its core distribution centre in Barnsley, which holds about 70% of the company’s stock. ASOS’s share price opened close to 1% down, but has since recovered to edge just above Friday’s close.

Thankfully there were no injuries in the incident, and the company says that the fire did not affect the technology, automation or structure of the building.  And whilst ASOS was forced to suspend taking orders over the weekend, the company says that the clean-up operation progressed quickly and that it had resumed taking orders at 2am this morning. 

ASOS says that 20% of the products held at Barnsley — worth around £22m at cost — were compromised by either fire and smoke damage or the effects of the sprinkler systems. The statement also says that the South Yorkshire Police is treating the fire as deliberate and has commenced a criminal enquiry. 

It’s not the first time ASOS has sustained damage to a distribution facility. Back in 2005, the company’s Hemel Hempstead warehouse was damaged by the explosions and fires at the  Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal, at Buncefield.

Whilst the company is fully insured for both the stock loss and the interruption of business, Friday’s fire could hardly have come at a worse time.  ASOS’s share price is down 53% so far this year, compared to the FTSE 100’s 0.5% rise.

But despite the dramatic decline in 2014, long-term shareholders will be more than happy with the 646% increase in ASOS’s share price over the past five years, during which time the FTSE 100 is up just 56%. 

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Jon doesn't own shares in ASOS. The Motley Fool owns shares in ASOS.