Market report

Ashley raises stake in Asos | retail sales slow


Mike Ashley is near to becoming the biggest investor in Asos after topping up his stake in the struggling online fashion retailer.

Through his 72% stake in retail empire Frasers Group he has increased his stake in Asos to 16.9% and is the company’s second largest shareholder behind Anders Povlsen, the owner of Denmark’s Bestseller chain and the building in Edinburgh formerly occupied by Jenners, with 21.8%.

Asos shares closed down 7.5p at 431.5p while Frasers Group lost 3p to 812p.

The FTSE 100 suffered a fourth loss in five sessions as it dipped 9.88 points to close at 7,554.49. 

Investors have been nervous ever since credit agency Fitch downgraded its debt rating for the United States, the world’s largest economy, last week.

London was also hit by a slide in copper prices, which knocked the values of heavyweight miners. Anglo American retreated 42p (1.9%) to 2200p.

Retail sales

Wet weather was blamed for retail sales rising just 1.5% year-on-year last month, below the three-month average growth of 3.5%.

July’s rise was the weakest year-on-year growth in retail sales since August last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium and KPMG sales monitor. Retail sales had risen 4.9% on-year in June.

On a like-for-like basis, retail sales rose 1.8% in July, trailing the three-month average growth rate of 3.3%. Like-for-like growth picked up from the 1.6% seen a year prior, however.

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