Asos puts website on hiatus after warehouse fire

Monday, 23 June 2014
Online fashion e-tailer Asos suspended its website and stop taking orders this weekend after a fire burnt through four floors of the company's main warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. On Friday night, shortly before 10 pm, over sixty firefighters and ten fire trucks were summoned to the fashion giant's headquarters to battle the blaze, which was finally put out around 7 am the next day. Although no one was injured, roughly 500 members of staff were evacuated from 60,000 square meter warehouse, in what South Yorkshire police believe to be intentional arson.

Asos stops taking orders after warehouse fire in South Yorkshire

“A criminal investigation has been launched to establish the cause of a fire last night (Friday, 20 June ) at the Asos warehouse in Grimethorpe, Barnsley,” said South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service in a statement. “ South Yorkshire Police are now treating the incident as deliberate, after initial investigations were carried out this morning (Saturday, 21 June.)”

So far the extend of the fire damage is unknown, as the warehouse remains closed to employees whilst the clean-up operation takes place. Huge piles of clothes, shoes and fashion accessories have been seen piled up outside warehouse, which held an estimated amount of 10 million clothing packages.

Asos stop taking orders on Saturday, with an unknown number of customer orders being delayed. A company spokesman told MailOnline that: “customers will either receive a full refund or get their orders as soon as possible.”.

On Sunday, customers visiting Asos's site were greeted with the following message: “Dear Customers, We have pressed pause on the Asos website, this is due to a fire in our Barnsley distribution centre in the early hours of Saturday morning. Thankfully no one was hurt and we expect to be back to normal for you in the next day or so. So please hold on to your orders, we will be back with you soon.”

Customers are also offered the option of giving the online fashion giant their email address to receive an instant notification when the site is back up and running, as Asos assures its visitors that they will “be able to shop soon.” Online on a number of social media outlets, customers voiced mixed reactions to the news.

Devoted Asos fans share their sympathy by creating and sharing hashtags such as #asosfire and #poorasos. However other customers complained about not receiving their orders on time and being able to shop. “Asos needs to hurry up, I need to order stuff,” tweeted one customer. “People moaning they won't receive a dress from ‪Asos when there's been a fire #firstworldproblems ‪#getagrip,” tweeted another.

The South Yorkshire warehouse is of vital importance to Asos, as every item the online e-tailer sells is screened before being shipped out for delivery. Last year the fashion e-tailer has sales of 770 million pounds. However, the fire at its warehouse comes at a difficult time for the company.

Early this month Asos released it's second profit warning since March, as the online retailer was forced to cut prices severely abroad to offset the strengthen of sterling. With the website being suspended, Al Mackin, founder of Formisimo, calculated that Asos is losing 2.283 pounds every sixty seconds.

This is not the first time that Asos has suffered damage to its warehouse and distribution facilities. In December 2005, the fashion giants warehouse was damaged when a nearby oil depot exploded. Asos also suspended its online site after the incident and refunded customers whose orders could not be delivered on time.

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