Feb 7, 2021

Asos and Boohoo rip up centuries of British retail heritage

Boohoo has also bought the remains of collapsed department store chain, Debenhams, for £55m. The flurry of recent purchases means that more than three centuries of British retail heritage have been salvaged by companies with a combined age of 36 years. "There have always been culls of fashion brands from time to time, but Covid has accelerated it," said Peter Williams, a former Selfridges chief executive who has served on the boards of Asos and Boohoo. Asos and Boohoo - which are listed on London's junior exchange, Aim - both now have valuations pushing close to £5bn, making each almost twice the size of venerable Marks and Spencer. Although Boohoo has more deals under its belt - acquiring Karen Millen, Coast, Oasis, Miss Pap and Warehouse over the past 18 months alone - Asos has also sized up plenty of targets. Asos and Boohoo expect that rapid growth in online sales will eventually compensate for the absence of stores.

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