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ASOS (retailer)

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ASOS plc
  • Winsupply Public Limited Company (2–15 June 2000)
  • AsSeenOnScreen Holdings plc (2000–2003)[1]
Company typePublic
Founded3 June 2000; 24 years ago (2000-06-03)
HeadquartersLondon, England
Area served
Key people
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Beauty
  • Gifts
RevenueDecrease £3,538.0 million (2023)[3]
Decrease £(29.0) million (2023)[3]
Decrease £(223.1) million (2023)[3]
Number of employees
3,352 (2023)[3]

ASOS plc (/ˈsɒs/ AY-soss)[4] is a British online fast-fashion and cosmetic retailer. The company was founded in 2000 in London, primarily aimed at young adults.[5] The website sells over 850 brands as well as its own range of clothing and accessories, and ships to all 196 countries from fulfilment centres in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe.[5]

ASOS originally stood for AsSeenOnScreen[6] with the tagline "Buy what you see on film and TV"[7] because it exclusively sold imitations of clothing from those mediums (for example, Brad Pitt's red leather jacket from the 1999 film Fight Club).

ASOS's headquarters are in Camden Town, at Greater London House, with additional offices in Berlin and Birmingham. As of 2013, their main fulfilment centre is in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, where they employ 3,500 workers.[8] The customer care department is based in Leavesden.[9] The Danish company Bestseller A/S, owned by the business magnate Anders Holch Povlsen, is ASOS's largest stakeholder, with a 26% share.[10]

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange.[11]



ASOS was established on 3 June 2000, by Nick Robertson,[8] Andrew Regan,[12] Quentin Griffiths, and Deborah Thorpe. In 2001, ASOS was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange.[13] In 2003, ASOS shareholders agreed to change the names of AsSeenOnScreen Holdings PLC and AsSeenOnScreen Limited to ASOS plc and ASOS.com Limited. In 2004, the company reported a maiden profit, with sales almost doubling in its first half.[14] In 2004, ASOS introduced their own label for women's clothing.[14]


In 2005, the Buncefield Fuel Depot explosion led to the closure of the business for six weeks and £5m of stock was lost.[15] In 2008, ASOS debuted kidswear on its site, however the branded market subsequently suffered declines at the expense of fast-growing own-label kidswear offers. In 2010, ASOS announced it would no longer offer kidswear, to concentrate on its core young adult fashion market.[16]

In the final quarter of 2010, ASOS launched three international online shops in Germany, France and the US. In November 2010, ASOS launched its marketplace platform for boutiques, vintage collectors, individuals and designers to trade from virtual market stalls to customers globally.[17]

In September 2011, ASOS launched three more sites in Australia, Italy and Spain.[18] In 2012, ASOS opened its first international office in Sydney, Australia, followed by an office in New York.[19] Later on, the company launched its first drama-game show series, called #DIGIDATING, starring AJ Odudu. It was billed as an Internet dating show with backstage drama.[20]


In 2013, ASOS opened its first office outside the South East, in Birmingham.[21] Later in 2013, ASOS recalled belts contaminated with radioactive cobalt-60.[22] ASOS in Russia and China were launched in the same year.[8] In 2014, a fire in the Barnsley warehouse prevented them from taking orders for almost three days.[23][24] During the 2014 Formula One season, ASOS was a sponsor of the McLaren Formula One team.[25][26] In 2015, ASOS had over 4,000 employees and was the UK's largest independent online and fashion beauty retailer.[27]

In September 2016, an investigative report from BuzzFeed News alleged poor working conditions at ASOS's warehouse. However, company spokespersons contended that the isolated complaints reported in the BuzzFeed article were not reflective of the general working conditions there.[28][29]

In April 2019, ASOS informed its clients through email that the company is looking into ways of changing its easy returns policy, after research showed customers were manipulating the easy return process. The company also admitted that the previous return policy was environmentally costly.[30]


In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ASOS was accused by some staff and workers unions of "playing Russian roulette with people’s lives" by failing to adequately enforce preventative measures in their Grimethorpe, Barnsley site.[31][32][33] It was claimed that warehouse staff could not safely operate whilst maintaining social distancing, that the staff felt unsafe and that ASOS's product was not actually essential, thus not meeting the UK Government's recommendation that only essential workplaces remain open.[34] The company disputed these claims, claiming they had sufficiently changed their operation to comply, Barnsley Council also inspected the site and found that the company was complying.[35][36]

In October 2020, ASOS Marketplace announced that it would not be charging commission rates on small business transactions to provide support through the COVID-19 pandemic for sellers.[37]

In April 2021, ASOS has partnered with delivery company DPD of DPDgroup to allow shoppers the option to donate unwanted clothing to charity.[38] In June 2021, ASOS launched a partnership with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.[39]

In February 2021, it was announced that ASOS was to acquire the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, and HIIT brands from collapsed Philip Green's Arcadia Group. On 4 February, the three former Arcadia Group brands became wholly owned subsidiaries of ASOS, with 300 head-office staff members from Arcadia and Topshop/Topman Limited.[40]

In November 2021, Ian Dyson, former Marks & Spencer finance director,[41] became Chair.[42]

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, ASOS suspended operations in Russia.[43][44]

In January 2023 ASOS's share value UK dropped by 70% compared to the previous year, mainly due to online shopping and shipping of the products. Consumers were less likely to purchase items online due to delivery problems since Christmas.[45]

In June 2023, it was reported that the Frasers Group had accumulated a stake of nearly 9% in ASOS.[46]

Digital marketing[edit]

In November 2009, ASOS claimed a ratio of one Twitter follower to eight Facebook fans to 100 active e-mail subscribers. Their 2008 report pointed out that nearly 10% of sales could be directly attributed to email marketing.[47]

In 2017, ASOS launched a campaign intended to take full advantage of the Instagram Stories feature, encouraging users to upload videos of purchased ASOS products. 3 million people interacted with the video in the UK.[48] ASOS uses the #AsSeenOnMe hashtag and any use of the hashtag adds the photos to an ASOS online database.[49]

On its YouTube channel, ASOS features series such as How to Style, Face + Body, and Sneakers in 60 Seconds, which are hosted by fashion influencers to inspire users' fashion choices.[50]


  1. ^ "ASOS PLC overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. 2 June 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". ASOS. Retrieved 17 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2023" (PDF). ASOS. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  4. ^ Wang, Connie; Marinelli, Gina (19 March 2012). "29 of Fashion's Biggest Mysteries, Solved!". Refinery29. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  5. ^ a b "About ASOS". ASOS.com. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  6. ^ "From AsSeenOnScreen the world's number one fashion destination for 20-somethings". ASOS.com. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Wayback Machine entry for AsSeenOnScreen.com captured 18 May 2001". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 18 May 2001. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Young, Vicki M. (30 October 2013). "WWD CEO Summit: Asos.com's Nick Robertson Looks to the Future". WWD. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  9. ^ "ASOS office building fit for 'Millennial' robotic generation wins office awards". Watford Observer. 7 May 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Major Shareholders". asosplc.com. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ "London Stock Exchange | London Stock Exchange". www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  12. ^ Fildes, Nic. "City puts on its best to greet Asos successor". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  13. ^ Richard Fletcher (6 June 2014). "Darling of the dotcoms was a born survivor". The Times. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  14. ^ a b "The timeline of ASOS.com – Telegraph". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  15. ^ Card, Jon. "Growing Business Success Stories – ASOS". Growing Business. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  16. ^ "All things kids, parents and in between... - What happened to ASOS kids". Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  17. ^ Milligan, Lauren (24 November 2010). "To Market". British Vogue. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  18. ^ "ASOS profits jump 41pc on international expansion". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2 June 2011.
  19. ^ Kollewe, Julia (5 June 2014). "Asos timeline: from tiny startup to dressing Michelle Obama". The Guardian.
  20. ^ "Watch the new ASOS dating show, Digi Dating". Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  21. ^ Enda Mullen (1 April 2013). "Fashion chain ASOS opens up in Birmingham". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  22. ^ Simon Neville (27 May 2013). "Asos pulls belts in radioactive scare". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  23. ^ Scott Campbell (21 June 2014). "ASOS fashion warehouse "badly damaged" in fire". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  24. ^ "ASOS status monitoring". Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  25. ^ "ASOS join McLaren sponsors for Australian GP". Auto Race Sponsor. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  26. ^ "The History of ASOS". The Fact Shop. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  27. ^ "ASOS". Business of Fashion. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  28. ^ Spary, Sara; Silver, Laura (16 September 2016). "The Real Cost of Asos's Fast Fashion". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  29. ^ Butler, Sarah (4 April 2017). "Asos chief says warehouse conditions are 'great' despite complaints". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  30. ^ Jennings, Rebecca (11 April 2019). "Returning online purchases is getting harder. That's a good thing". Vox. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  31. ^ Butler, Sarah (30 March 2020). "'Cradle of disease': Asos warehouse staff reveal coronavirus fears". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Coronavirus: Calls to protect 'vital' warehouse workers". BBC. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  33. ^ Saad, Laith (2 May 2020). "'This Isn't Essential': Asos Workers Fight for Safety During Coronavirus". Archived from the original on 3 May 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  34. ^ "ASOS are 'playing Russian roulette with people's lives' as they refuse to enforce social distancing in packed warehouses amid the Coronavirus crisis". GMB. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  35. ^ Olulode, Celestina (1 April 2020). "Coronavirus: ASOS denies claims staff are unsafe at work during outbreak". BBC. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  36. ^ Gabriel, Bruce. "Digital Marketing Company Pakistan". Atozadvert. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  37. ^ "Asos Marketplace axes commission rates until the end of 2020". FashionNetwork.com. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  38. ^ Wadham, Caroline (15 April 2021). "Asos and DPD launch textile recycling initiative". Drapers. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  39. ^ "Lush x ASOS". ASOS.com. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  40. ^ "Asos buys Topshop and Miss Selfridge brands for £330m". The Guardian. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  41. ^ "Asos hires former Marks & Spencer finance director". Independent.ie. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  42. ^ "Board of directors".
  43. ^ "Worldwide fashion industry urged to show support for Ukraine". The Guardian. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  44. ^ "Asos expects £14m hit from halting trade in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine". The Guardian. 12 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  45. ^ Young, Sarah (12 January 2023). "ASOS pins hopes on cost savings after Christmas sales slide". Reuters. Retrieved 2 May 2023. Analysts remain wary on prospects for ASOS's recovery. Thursday's share price rise only takes it to levels last seen in November. The group has lost 70% of its value over the last 12 months.
  46. ^ Butler, Sarah (6 June 2023). "Mike Ashley's Frasers Group raises stake in Asos to nearly 9%". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  47. ^ Chaffey, Dave (2010). "Applying organisational capability models to assess the maturity of digital-marketing governance". Journal of Marketing Management. 26:3–4 (3–4): 187–196. doi:10.1080/02672571003612192. S2CID 167722437.
  48. ^ "Great Work: ASOS on Instagram Stories". Creative Review. 18 December 2017.
  49. ^ Hobbs, Thomas (20 March 2017). "Asos on why digital must be a balance between mass reach and targeting". Marketing Week.
  50. ^ "More than Fashion". YouTube. Retrieved 25 May 2022.

External links[edit]