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January 17, 2022

Asos set to boost UK economy by GBP3.8bn within four years

UK online fashion retailer Asos has released its first economic impact report, with new analysis highlighting the scale of its contribution to the UK economy and society.

By Beth Wright

Asos says the report outlines how it is set to boost the UK economy by GBP3.8bn (US$5.2bn) and support an additional 25,000 jobs across the county within the next four years.

The research, conducted by Oxford Economics, shows the retailer’s contribution to UK GDP was GBP1.8bn in 2019-20. Plans to reach GBP7bn turnover in the next three to four years will further boost Asos’ impact in the UK, with GDP contribution estimated by Oxford Economics to increase by GBP2bn to GBP3.8bn.

Up to 25,000 new jobs could be created off the back of this additional GDP contribution, bringing the total number of jobs supported by Asos in the UK to around 60,000.

“Since Asos began over two decades ago, we’ve grown from a tech start-up with just a handful of employees to become a truly global business, directly employing over 3,000 people. As we’ve grown in size and scale our economic and social impact in the UK has also dramatically changed, which is reflected in this new report from Oxford Economics,” says Mat Dunn, COO at Asos.

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact Asos has on the UK’s society and economy – this is testament to the skill, dedication, and hard work of the ASOS team. As we continue our journey to reach GBP7bn of annual revenue, we’re looking forward to seeing how Asos’ contribution to the UK will further grow.”

The report highlights key takeaways as:

  • Economic impact: Asos’ total economic impact in the UK grew to GBP1.8bn in 2019-20, providing vital support to UK GDP at the height of the pandemic.
  • Job creation: Asos supported more than 31,000 jobs across the UK in 2019-20. It directly employed over 3,600 employees, with every direct Asos employee supporting 7.7 jobs elsewhere in the country, including within its own supply chain.
  • Contribution to tax revenues: Asos generated UK tax revenues of GBP825m from its economic activity in 2019-20, an increase of 2.2% from 2018-19.

In addition to supporting national and international GDP and jobs, Asos also contributes to levelling up and upskilling across the UK through:

  • Employment: Asos’ Barnsley fulfilment centre is the largest single private employer in the Barnsley metropolitan region. Asos has recently opened a new fulfilment centre in Lichfield in the UK, which will create 2,000 jobs over the next three years.
  • Suppliers: Asos spends over GBP800m with UK suppliers, with about 25% of its expenditure spent in 40 most deprived English local authority areas and about 21% in areas allocated to the highest-priority group for the Levelling Up Fund.
  • Entrepreneurs: Asos Marketplace supports UK SMEs by providing a platform to grow their fashion retail businesses. There are close to 1,400 global sellers currently using ASOS Marketplace from 55 countries, processing c.200,000 orders per year.
  • Apprentices: Asos currently employs 187 apprentices, equivalent to 59 apprentices per 1,000 employees, 40% higher than the industry average.

Pete Collings, director of economic impact consulting, Oxford Economics, says: “Our research demonstrates the significant contribution that a large and successful British company like Asos can make to the economy, especially the jobs market and the UK’s public finances, as the UK recovers from the deepest economic recession in living memory. Asos provides crucial support for the UK economy across its supply chain and in all regions of the economy, including levelling up priority areas.”

The Economic Impact report follows the launch of Asos’ Fashion with Integrity 2030 programme in September, which outlined four key goals to minimise the business’ impact on the planet and deliver positive benefits for people. Those goals are Be Net Zero, centred around carbon emissions; Be More Circular, about transitioning to more circular systems; Be Transparent, focused on transparency and human rights; and Be Diverse, encompassing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Shares in Asos were up by more than 10% last week as the retailer saw sales rise in the four months to 31 December, reiterated its guidance for the full year, and shared plans to move to the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market.

Meanwhile, reports claimed this weekend that ex-Farfetch executive Andrew Robb is among contenders to become Asos’ new CEO, replacing Nick Beighton would Asos said would step down as CEO in October.

A report published by Sky News yesterday (16 January) said Robb was among a number of candidates for role, with the company “potentially – although by no means certainly – unveiling Mr Beighton’s replacement when it announces financial results in April.”

When asked about Robb, Asos told Just Style it cannot currently comment on individuals or on the process.

Click here to access the Economic Impact report in full. 

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