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LONDON — Online retailer Asos’ Web site was down Sunday and the company had suspended orders, following a fire at the firm’s distribution center in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, that broke out Friday night. Asos stated on its Web site Sunday that it had “pressed pause” on the site following the fire, adding: “Thankfully no one was hurt and we expect to be back to normal…in the next day or so.”
South Yorkshire Police said over the weekend that they are treating the fire as deliberate, following initial investigations. The police said following a call at 10 p.m. local time Friday, emergency services responded and around 500 workers were evacuated from the premises. Simon Rodgers of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service said: “The fire involved four floors of the warehouse and the blaze was contained in the area of origin by firefighters. Asos staff had a good evacuation process in place, which assisted the emergency services and allowed the fire to be brought under control more quickly.”
It was the second fire at one of Asos’ warehouses — in December 2005 there was a fire at its warehouse in Hemel Hempstead, just outside London, and the retailer wasn’t fully operational for a month following the event.
The latest fire also comes after a turbulent time for Asos on the financial front — earlier this month, the retailer’s shares lost 31 percent of their value in one day on the London Stock Exchange, after the company issued a profit warning. Asos had said its profits for the current fiscal year would be lower than expected, as a result of higher promotional activity and a greater share of sales going to markets where the retailer makes lower margins, such as the U.K. and Germany.