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Asos CEO Nick Beighton departs: What analysts have to say

·2-min read
An Asos distribution centre (PA Archive)
An Asos distribution centre (PA Archive)

Asos has revealed that Nick Beighton, the 53-year-old who has led the online fashion retailer for six years, is stepping down from the role.

News of him leaving came alongside the company publishing a update that showed sales leapt during the pandemic, but there are headwinds now that could hit growth in the current financial year to August 2022.

Mat Dun, finance chief and chief operating officer at Asos, said: "Looking ahead, while our performance in the next 12 months is likely to be constrained by demand volatility and global supply chain and cost pressures, we are confident in our ability to capture the sizeable opportunities ahead.”

A host of commentators have shared their thoughts on the latest management changes and the outlook.

Andrew Wade, equity analyst at Jefferies, said: “A downgrade to FY22 had clearly been well anticipated, but we suspect this -35% cut is bigger than most will have envisaged. Although many of the headwinds are understandable and, hopefully, transitory, we suspect investors will struggle to put much credibility on the MT targets.”

Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Supply chain problems are going to continue for the foreseeable future, which is some explanation for why next year’s sales outlook is so disappointing.”

Lund-Yates added: “Asos is a huge player in the world of online shopping, but the pandemic has chivvied a lot of its bricks and mortar rivals to up their own digital offerings, so it will need to peddle hard to keep growing market share. This bump in the road comes as there’s a change in leadership at the top, adding a layer of strategic risk.”

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “After the recent shocks from Boohoo, AO and In the Style etc and the share price pressure on THG, Made.com and Moonpig etc, online retailer shareholders will be disturbed to hear that ASOS have thrown the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons with the shock news that Beighton is stepping down.”

Market.com’s Neil Wilson said: “Asos shares tumbled this morning as Beighton steps down and the company warned of continued supply chain problems. Revenues also missed expectations, but undoubtedly the departure of Beighton, who has steered the company through an incredible period of growth, is a contributing factor. A big loss for the company.”

Chloe Collins, head of apparel at GlobalData, said: “Asos only expects to achieve mid-single digit sales growth in H1 FY2021/22, as global supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc with stock availability across the retail industry. Though Asos will be somewhat protected by its breadth of options and third-party brands, longer lead times will be inevitable, especially in the EU.”

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