ASOS rakes in big money in Q3
Models wearing merchandise sold on ASOS' websites. Picture: ASOS

London-headquartered online fashion retailer ASOS profited from the extremely cold weather that forced Britons to shop over the Internet in March and early April this year.

The company reported a 45% increase in retail sales, pushing up group revenues to £194m (€228m , $303m) -- UK sales surged 39%, while international sales jumped 48% -- during its third quarter ending 31 May, 2013.

ASOS' stock was trading 5.6% higher at 1:36pm in London.

"We continue to see stronger growth in those countries where we have dedicated websites and in-country teams, notably in the US, France, Germany and Australia. Our dedicated Russian website launched on 1 May, 2013.

"Retail gross margin grew by 10bps over the quarter as we annualised last year's price investments. We anticipate a further increase in the fourth quarter which should result in a small improvement for the year as a whole.

"We remain positive in our outlook for the year to 31 August 2013 and expect our full year results to be in line with expectations," chief executive Nick Robertson was quoted as saying in a company statement.

Earlier this month, British budget-fashion chain Primark marked its entry into web-based retailing, that has achieved significant growth in recent years, through ASOS' online platform.

"A capsule collection of 20 womenswear products introduced to ASOS' website earlier this month has already grown to over 60 menswear and womenswear lines... Its partnership with Primark comes as a testament to ASOS's unfailing ability to surprise and also reflects its considered response to the prevailingly budget-driven nature of consumer culture in Britain," said Anusha Couttigane, analyst at retail consultancy Conlumino.

The internet currently accounts for about a fifth of all retail sales in the UK. Early movers including John Lewis, Debenhams and Next Directory have recently witnessed a surge in their online sales.

"ASOS' future prospects appear equally exciting: A Chinese platform currently in the development stages will bring the total number of shopping sites to 12, of which nine will be local language sites. With international business now accounting for 67% of total retail sales, these are signs that ASOS is fast becoming a global E-commerce empire," Couttigane said.

ASOS's websites attract 23.2 million unique visitors a month and as on 31 May 2013 had 12.1 million registered users and 6.5 million active customers, the statement said.