Asos, the international U.K.-based fashion e-tailer, said it will expand its activewear offering as locked-down clients spurned party outfits in favor of sportswear and exercise gear during the Covid-19 pandemic. Asos said that a focus on curating and presenting “the best edit of sports lifestyle and activewear product … from the most globally relevant sports brands will further support our penetration in this category.”

Grabbing a greater share of the “huge” sportswear market along with beauty products is now a priority after sales of jogging bottoms and sports tops soared by 50 percent, said the company in releasing excellent results for the financial year ended Aug. 31..

Total revenues rose by 19 percent to £3.26 billion (€3.66bn - $4.31bn), with sales outside the U.K. rising by 20 percent to £1.99 billion (€2.20bn - $2.58m). Pre-tax profits jumped by 329 percent to £142.1 million (€157.3m - $184.2m), boosted by a gain of £45 million (€50m - $58.72m) from lower product returns as customers were less concerned with the fit of activewear or unwilling to make the trip to the post office to send unwanted items back during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Cost cuts in areas such as marketing, combined with higher efficiencies from more automation at its European warehouse, also contributed to the higher overall profitability, although the gross margin lost 1.2 percentage points, declining to 47.4 percent.

An additional 3.1 million shoppers were added to Asos’ active customer base during the year, taking the total to 23.4 million. However, the company remained cautious in its outlook because of the impact of the pandemic on disposable incomes and a potential financial hit from Brexit.

Asos is launching a new lower-priced brand called AsYou as it prepares for a tightening of consumer spending.