Shares in Asos slumped 10% earlier as the online fashion giant said its chief executive is stepping down and a number of headwinds, including supply chain problems, will hit profits.
Nick Beighton, 53, has led the retailer for six years and been with the company since 2009. In that time Asos has moved from a £220 million turnover firm to one that today said sales in the year to August jumped 20% to £3.9 billion.
The board and Beighton have agreed “that now is the right time” for him to leave.
A replacement search is starting and Beighton will remain available to the board until the end of 2021 to ensure a smooth handover. Finance chief Mat Dunn will take on the additional role of chief operating officer, while Katy Mecklenburgh, director of group finance, becomes interim finance boss.
The AIM-listed group saw sales leap in the pandemic, but today cautioned it is unlikely to match some of the unusually high growth seen during the Covid-19 crisis.
In the current financial year to August 2022 it expects sales growth of 10% to 15%, against last year’s 20%. Adjusted pre-tax profits are forecast to be in the range of £110 million-£140 million, lower than the £193.6 million just recorded and what analysts had pencilled in.
That comes as trading returns to more normal conditions now that rivals with physical stores have reopened.
Asos added that there are “notable cost headwinds, including incremental inbound freight costs, Brexit duty annualisation, outbound delivery costs and labour cost inflation”.
The shares lost 288p, or 10.36%, to 2493p.
Despite that, the retailer has set out big growth targets for the next three to four years. It wants annual revenue to reach £7 billion, plans to invest up to £250 million per year in the business, and double the size of the combined UK and US business.
Outgoing chairman Adam Crozier told the Standard that Asos is “shifting from being a very successful high growth UK exporter” to its next stage of growth.
Crozier leaves at the end of November to join BT in the same role, and will be replaced by Asos’s senior independent non-executive director Ian Dyson.