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Remember when the ASOS warehouse burnt down?

19/03/2019 · ASOS (ASC)  · Ocado (OCDO) 

Technology UK

Asos global headquarters front desk
In its 17-year history on AIM, Asos has had just as many fires as it has had profit warnings, but it always manages to bounce back bigger and better than before. Ocado is hoping to do the same after its Andover fulfilment centre burnt down in February. But both companies face a far more significant threat to their long-term growth: Amazon.

The Buncefield oil depot explosion which destroyed an Asos (LON: ASC) factory in 2005 sticks out in my memory of the company’s history because I heard it. The fire which caused a series of major explosions at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage terminal sounded like war had broken out in my road, 13 miles away. It melted the M1, blew a window out of St Albans Abbey (5 miles away) and destroyed an entire warehouse full of Asos stock just weeks before what was meant to be the company’s “biggest Christmas by a country mile”, according to its founder and then-chief executive, Nick Robertson.

The shares were suspended and it appeared that the fledgling company – which had promised that its Hertfordshire warehouse would provide a big growth spurt – would falter before it had a chance to take off.

Buncefield is not the only occasion that Asos has been blighted by fire. In June 2014, the company lost £2.2m worth of…

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