WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Asos shares in fashion as FTSE hits fresh high

Shares in online fashion retailer Asos attracted attention today on talk of a possible US bid for a stake in the business.

The stock jumped 19.4 per cent to 2,804p helping reverse some of the heavy falls suffered in recent months following a profit warning and warehouse blaze.

Asos, popular with internet-savvy twentysomethings, has had a meteoric rise since it listed on the stock market at only 20p-a-share in 2001. However, the previous market darling has lost about 60 per cent of its value this year.

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It has been reported that Danish retailer Bestseller, which owns more than a quarter of Asos, has been approached about selling its stake.

Beaufort Securities sales trader Basil Petrides said: “One of my clients is long on Asos and added to it this morning. EBay is rumoured to be the bidder but it’s just talk. Who knows? The stock has been smashed of late.”

The benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed to its highest closing level in nearly two months, gaining 7.9 points at 6,830.66.

The major listed grocers were in focus after latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel revealed that supermarket price inflation fell for the 11th quarter in a row.

Sainsbury’s, which saw its market share drop to 16.4 per cent as its sales growth lagged behind the market at 0.3 per cent, was the biggest faller in the top flight as its shares dipped nearly 3 per cent or 8.1p to 304.2p.

Tesco was under pressure after Kantar said the market leader’s sales fell 4 per cent – the biggest decline among the big four chains – in a period when 53 per cent of UK households visited Aldi or Lidl at least once.

Shares dropped 2.8p to 249.3p as Kantar said Tesco’s market share fell to 28.8 per cent from 30.2 per cent over the 12 months.