Asos says 70% of its stock was held at the Barnsley warehouse

Asos says 70% of its stock was held at the Barnsley warehouse

Online fashion retailer Asos says around 20% of stock at its distribution centre in Barnsley has been "compromised" following a fire at the facility on Friday (20 June) evening.

In a statement today, the retail group confirmed that a fire broke out at its main distribution warehouse at 21:50 on Friday, at which time, a full evacuation was conducted.

Asos said that as of 31 May, the business held GBP159m (US$271m) of stock at cost price, with 70% of it held at the Barnsley warehouse.

"None of the technology, automation or structure of the building has been affected by the fire," the retailer said. "Our initial estimate is that approximately 20% of the total stock at the site has been compromised by fire damage and the sprinkler systems. The clean-up process commenced on Saturday morning and progressed quickly."

The retailer stopped taking orders in the immediate aftemath of the fire, but business resumed at 2am this morning (23 June). The company added that it is "fully insured for loss of stock and business interruption".

Following initial investigations, South Yorkshire police said they were treating the incident as deliberate and have launched a criminal enquiry.

"We are cooperating fully with this investigation," Asos said.

It is the latest setback for the business in less than a month, after the retailer issued a surprise full-year profit warning in early June, blaming increased discounting, slower international sales, the strength of the sterling against the euro, and lower retail margins.

This is not the first time Asos's business has been halted by fire. Back in December 2005 the retailer was forced to stop trading for five and a half weeks after a blast at the Buncefield oil depot damaged its warehouse.