Do you remember how excited you were as a kid on Christmas Day? In our family home, I had the agonising wait to open presents until after Christmas dinner! 12 hours after waking, I finally was able to tear off the wrapping paper and alight my eyes on the book I had asked for, the toy carefully selected from the well-thumbed Argos catalogue — and the dreaded Christmas jumper, for which I’d thank my relative with a fixed smile on my face.
Fast-forward too many years for my liking and although we maintained the tradition of waiting until we’ve had our fill of turkey and sprouts, I no longer dread the soft, pliable gift that’s obviously clothing of some sort. That’s because sharing Christmas lists is all done online in my family now, so we send links to our chosen items — and for years now, all clothing and accessories for the teens to twentysomethings has been selected from ASOS (LSE: ASC).
The online fashion retailer sells over 850 global and local brands, and that’s on top of its own-label collection. The company’s ambition is to become the #1 destination for fashion-conscious twentysomethings, and with as wide a range as ASOS’s, you can be there’ll be more than something for everyone. No wonder it’s the second most visited fashion website on the planet!
And it’s not just the comprehensive selection to choose from that makes it a standout company, in my opinion: the ease of which customers can place an order, have it delivered quickly and return items if they choose ranks among the best I’ve seen from any company, online or otherwise.
If you’ve been following the company over the last 12 months, you’ll know that its share price has weakened this year. Partly, that’s due to an 11% dip in profit after tax from 2013. But consider that revenue increased by 27% in 2014, and gross profit lifted by 22%, and it’s hard to see a company in decline.
Personally, I think the share price reflects the year’s bad news and that the coming three to five years will see the company continue to push its online experience worldwide — management have, perhaps belatedly, come to terms with the fact that not all countries are like the UK and favour credit/debit cards to pay for their wares, but now ASOS is in the process of making its systems more user-friendly no matter where they are, not least adding websites in different character sets (Russian and Chinese, for example).
To that, I say Счастливого Рождества and 圣诞快乐 — and may it be a happy Christmas for ASOS investors!
Sam Robson owns shares of ASOS. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of ASOS. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.