Sir, Much has been written about Asos’s third profit warning, and the latest fall in its share price. However, this says more about the City’s lack of understanding of online commerce than about Asos’s performance and prospects.
Traditional physical retailers took until the 1970s before reporting their store like-for-likes to share true performance – until then poor performance could easily be masked by new store openings. Similarly today our new online and multichannel retailers need to start reporting customer like-for-likes and new customers acquired before we can truly assess their performance.
With customers now shopping across channels (for example browsing in-store but buying online), store like-for-likes are increasingly unhelpful in understanding a retailer’s performance.
To make sense of their own performance, all multichannel retailers are trying to capture customers’ information in-store whether through e-receipts, apps, loyalty cards or simply asking for an email address. Unfortunately, these numbers are not being reported, and the statutory reporting of online and multichannel retailers is no longer fit for purpose to ensure a well-functioning market.
Until that changes we should expect a volatile ride for multichannel retail and ecommerce stocks.
Michael Ross, London, UK
Co-founder and Chief Scientist, Order Dynamics
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