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E-tailer Asos Resumes Operations Following Warehouse Fire

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British e-commerce clothier Asos resumed taking orders Monday after a fire at its primary warehouse last week claimed nearly 20 percent of the site’s stock, forcing the retailer to cease all e-commerce operations for two days.

A fire, suspected to be deliberate, broke out at the retailer’s distribution center in Barnsley, England Friday. According to The Guardian, every product Asos sells passes through the Barnsley warehouse prior to being shipped, and the distribution center was holding 70 percent of Asos’ £159 ($270.6 million) in inventory. The fire ripped through several floors of the warehouse and damaged an estimated one-fifth of the product held there, valued at roughly £22 million ($37.4 million).

Asos said in a stock market statement Monday, “None of the technology, automation or structure of the building has been affected by the fire,” and that they are fully insured for the loss of stock and sales interruption.

Shares closed at £28.15 on the London stock exchange Monday, up just over 2 percent from Friday’s close.

Friday’s fire came on the heels of two profit warnings Asos has already issued this year. The most recent, announced at the start of this month wiped £1.2 billion ($2 billion) off of Asos’ market value after the retailer warned it would miss full-year profit forecasts by 30 percent, owed to a strong pound forcing it to slash prices in foreign markets. Following the announcement, company shares slipped 31 percent.

For the quarter ended May 31, 2014, Asos posted revenue of £248 million ($422 million), up 26 percent over the prior year quarter. Total retail sales for the quarter were up 25 percent to £243 million ($414 million), with growth in the UK a strong 43 percent but the strengthening sterling led to a lower 17 percent international sales growth.

Company CEO Nick Robertson commented on the quarter’s results saying, “Whilst our profit performance for this financial year is not what we had hoped for due to an unusual combination of factors, our accelerated investment in technology and infrastructure to support our £2.5bn sales ambition is progressing and capex remains within guided levels. All customer metrics – active customers, new customers, order frequency and units per basket – are positive and we are totally focussed on rolling out the ASOS business model globally as the world’s leading online fashion destination for 20-somethings.”

The retailer is now launching a summer sale in an effort to woo back unsettled consumers and goods will be marked up to 50 percent off starting Tuesday.

No workers were injured in the fire and local police are investigating its causes.

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