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Fashion favourite, ASOS, saw a share price surge of over 28 per cent after it announced it had raised £247m from shareholders to see it through the current crisis.
The online retailer has been significantly affected by the global pandemic as the closure of other brands high street stores have failed to translate to an upswing in online retail sales, and it revealed it’s group sales were down between 20 and 25 per cent in the last three weeks.
But the fast fashion site also announced it is in talks to secure a £60 million to £80 million 12-month extension to its revolving credit facility which should allay investors’ fears further.
So, with its share price now standing at 2,000p, could ASOS reign the catwalk again post-coronavirus?
Analysts are optimistic – ahead of ASOS’s half year results which were released on Wednesday, Berenberg had reiterated its buy rating and Peel-Hunt described recent share price declines as ‘a buying opportunity.’
The retailer recorded a 21 per cent uplift to retail sales in its results, along with a record pre-tax profit surge from £4m to £30.1m helped along by a shift towards automation in its European distribution hub.
Analysts, Jefferies were also impressed with the retailer’s results despite the recent dip pointing to ASOS’s promotions, customer acquisition and better availability in the EU and US as reasons for its profit surge. The broker upgraded its rating from ‘underperform’ to ‘buy’ saying it expected ASOS to emerge from the coronavirus ‘a winner’ and going on to comment: “Combined with a £60m-£80m revolving credit facility extension this gives ASOS enough liquidity to last a prolonged 18-month downturn.”
Rival Boohoo has so far remained guarded about how coronavirus has impacted its own sales, but its shares were also up ten per cent this week.
Like ASOS, Boohoo has faced a backlash for keeping its warehouse open for what many consider are non-essential purchases. Staff at both ASOS and Boohoo hit out on social media over the weekend saying that they felt unsafe as they had not been provided with protective equipment, claims that ASOS Chief Executive Nick Beighton has refuted.
Boohoo’s warehouses and online operations remain open though, and despite its lack of comment analysts believe its sales have probably taken a similar hit to ASOS.
But can Boohoo weather the storm as well as its competitor?
Some retail analysts believe it is likely to struggle more because of its emphasis on party and occasion wear at a time when that type of clothing could not be further from customers minds. Sofie Wilmott at GlobalData pointed out that ASOS have a broader product offering across ‘athleisure, loungewear and casualwear’ which could put it in a better position than Boohoo.
Peel Hunt, however, while predicting a similar 25 per cent sales decline for the most recent quarter for Boohoo and flat growth, thereafter, suggest this ‘barely makes a dent’ in the teen favourite’s net cash position of over £200m.
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