Happy Progress at New Look

Fashion retailer New Look reported ‘strong progress’ in its transformation – eight months after a £700 million takeover. New Look said changes to its distribution network and design team contributed to an 18.8% rise in total sales during the 14 weeks to New Year’s Day. Like-for-like sales were up 11.6% in the UK as its success during the run-up to Christmas continued into the sale period, with margins ahead of last year.

New Look – the UK’s fourth-largest womenswear retailer after M&S, Next and Debenhams- has doubled the number of designers working on new ranges to 22 and has also strengthened its buying and merchandising team. The company has more than 500 outlets in the UK and a further 200 in France where it is trailing new formats and larger stores as well as extending product ranges. In France New Look goes by the name of Mim.

Chief executive Phil Wrigley said: “Our customers have taken to our initiatives well and our results today reflect the strong progress we have made. In 2005 we will build on this progress and look to further strengthen our brand and scale of the business.”

Founder Tom Singh with the backing of private equity houses Permira and Apax Partners took new Look private in April last year. In its first results since that deal, New Look reported sales growth of 17.4% in the six months to September 25 and an 8.2% hike in like-for-like sales in the UK.

www.newlook.co.uk 4 January 2005

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