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Asos chief Nick Beighton steps down as retailer warns on profits

The online fashion retailer Asos has announced the departure of its chief executive Nick Beighton and warned that profits will be hit by rising costs and supply chain disruption.

Beighton, 54, who has been in the role for six years and with the company for 12 years, leaves with immediate effect.

The fast-fashion retailer said a search had begun for a successor. Mat Dunn, chief financial officer, will take on the additional role of chief operating officer and lead the business on a day-to-day basis.

The company also announced that Ian Dyson was to succeed Adam Crozier as chairman. Crozier announced in August that he would be leaving to take over as chairman of BT next year.

Asos said the executive changes were to “underpin the delivery of the next phase of its global growth strategy”. The company said that Beighton had indicated that he could not commit to stay for all of its five-year plan to accelerate its international expansion.

Beighton said: “When I joined, there were fewer than 200 people and we had annual sales of around £220 million. I leave a business reporting turnover of almost £4 billion, with more than 3,000 fantastic Asos-ers delivering for 26 million customers in 200 markets around the world.”

In its annual results, which have been brought forward from Thursday, the company said that “notable cost headwinds” would hit the group this year including rising freight costs and labour cost inflation.

The retailer now expects pre-tax profits of between £110 million and £140 million. Analysts had been forecasting profits of £186 million.

In the year to the end of August pre-tax profits rose 25 per cent to £177.1 million, up from £142.1 million the previous year, on revenue up 25 per cent to £3.91 billion.

Asos, which focuses on fashion-loving twentysomethings, was founded in 2000 at the height of the dot-com bubble. It was one of the pandemic winners after its sales and profits soared on the back of the switch to online shopping during lockdowns. However, in July the retailer cautioned that the volatility of Covid restrictions was affecting its sales growth.

The shares, which have fallen by more than 40 per cent so far this year, dropped by 15 per cent, or 410p, to £23.71 this morning.

The company has also postponed plans for a so-called capital markets day on Thursday when it planned to brief investors and analysts on its long-term plans.

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