Retail sales in the UK increased by 35 percent as customers continued to respond well to our market-leading proposition in this territory. The EU continues to be our fastest growing international segment with retail sales up 44 percent, following improvements delivery options in a number of countries and the introduction of premier service in France and Germany. Growth was particularly strong in Germany.
“Despite all that happened this year, we still delivered 27 percent growth in sales, with the UK a standout performance at 35 percent growth. Our customer engagement was exceptionally strong, with highest ever average order frequency, conversion and average basket size. We are in a period of major investment that comes at a short term cost, but the medium-term benefits will be significant,” said Nick Robertson, CEO, commenting on the financial development.
Although impacted by the strengthening of sterling relative to the US dollar during the year, reported US sales grew by 19 percent following introduction of our premier membership scheme in this territory, expansion of its range of locally relevant brands, and a targeted student awareness campaign. On a constant currency basis, retail sales in the US grew by 25 percent.
Rest of World segment was most affected by adverse currency movements, with reported retail sales growth of 5 percent, increasing to 15 percent on a constant currency basis. Growth was initially strong in Russia but slowed during the second half, and growth in Australia was impacted throughout the year by adverse local economic conditions. Asos China operation continues to grow, at a slower rate than initially planned.
Asos now claims to have 8.8 million active customers, an increase of 25 percent. Average basket value increased by 3 percent, driven by an 8 percent increase in average units per basket as customers responded well to ongoing proposition improvements, including free international express delivery offers above a minimum spend threshold. This was partly offset by a 4 percent decrease in average selling price per unit due to a shift in branded mix towards lower-priced brands.
The company continued to enhance its proposition in key international strategic territories of the US, Australia, France, Germany, Russia and China with improvements to delivery proposition and the introduction of new locally relevant payment methods. During the year, its team grew by 461 to 1,813 employees at August 31, 2014. Nick Beighton, Chief Financial Officer, will now become Chief Operating Officer with immediate effect. Jon Kamaluddin stepped down from the board of Asos in October 2013 and Peter Williams and Mary Turner stepped, in December 2013. Ian Dyson joined the Board as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director in October 2013, followed by Hilary Riva and Rita Clifton who were appointed as Non-Executive Directors with effect from 1 April 2014.