Asos.com IT Director keeps a sharp eye on future trends

In the world of fashion, keeping ahead of current trends is vital. When last season’s red becomes the new black, you don’t want to be left in the dark. And it’s no difference whether you’re a big-name couturier, a high-street designer or the IT chief behind the UK’s largest online fashion retailer.

“Six months here is like a year in another business,” says Gary Mudie, IT director at Asos.com. “When I was told that at the interview I thought it was just internet talk, but it is so incredibly fast here.”

So fast, in fact, that in the second quarter of 2008 Asos celebrated a 95 per cent increase in sales on the same period last year, after marking an 85 per cent Q2 growth the year before. With Asos being a pureplay online retailer, confidence in robust and scalable IT systems is key to continuing this growth.

“One of the main differences between Asos and other retailers is that it’s a truly technology-led business,” says Mudie.

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“Apart from the standard technology that we have to run our supply chain and logistics and distribution centres, there’s a huge amount of technology that runs our shop, which is our website. So here IT is an absolutely critical part of the business.”

And Mudie has wasted no time in kitting out Asos to prepare for continued growth over the next four or five years. Since arriving in March, he has almost doubled the headcount in his 65-strong team.

“The systems we have today take us forward for the next couple of years. What I’m putting in place are systems that will take us from three years onwards, and [eventually] to a £1bn turnover.