The rise of e-commerce: Asos to surpass M&S's market value

The shift in retail from offline to online shopping is being thrown into sharp relief as on pure-player fashion e-tail is set to surpass the valuation of one of the UK’s most iconic department store group. Asos is just over 100 million pounds away from surpassing Marks & Spencer’s market value, a first for the online retailer in what analysts are calling the UK high street “Tesla moment.”

Asos, which is listed on AIM, was worth 4.93 billion pounds at market closing yesterday, just over 100 million pounds shy from M&S valuation of 5.05 billion pounds. It is the first time the two retailers market valuations have ever been this close, according to analyst Mark Photiades from Cantor Fitzgerald. Speaking to The Times he said: “We believe that it will not be long before Asos has a greater market value than M&S. It will be a seminal moment.”

The move sees the 17-year-old fashion e-tailer assess the new order, in a similar way electric car firm Tesla did overseas when it overtook General Motors as the most valuable car manufacturer in the United States. Photiades noted that 20 years ago before Asos even existed, Marks & Spencer held a market value of 16.9 billion pounds.

Asos rise to power to is said to highlight the fundamental structural change occurring in the retail industry as shoppers switch to online shopping, but also underlines M&S struggles to adapt to the changing retail landscape in the recent years.

Photo: Asos lookbook AW17