Fashion retailer New Look has today reported a surge in EBITDA, up 25.2 per cent to £86.9 million in its first half despite a decline in like-for-like (LFL) sales.
In the 26 weeks ended September 22nd 2012, total group sales fell 1.7 per cent to £710.5 million while group LFLs excluding VAT dropped 3.3 per cent.
In the UK, LFLs decreased 3.1 per cent as the retailer entered the third phase of its recovery strategy, following efforts to reduce operating costs and improve margins.
Accelerating its store refit programme is a primary concern for the high street chain, which successfully refurbished 26 stores over the period while a further 120 are planned for the second half.
Alistair McGeorge, Chairman of New Look, said: “These results reflect the significant progress we have made and the positive steps we have taken in our recovery plan, in spite of the continuing tough trading conditions on the high street.
“Our strategy to remove costs and drive margin improvement, which we have done by tightly managing stock levels and reducing markdowns, has successfully driven a 25 per cent increase in H1 EBITDA.
“We will continue to focus on improving our EBITDA performance as we continue to migrate to a much stronger mix of full price sales and fewer sales events.
“The next stage of our recovery should see sales growth return based on the product improvements being made and the better presentation of product in store.”
Internationally, the retailer reported a “strong performance” while its multichannel operation is growing significantly as it now has an online presence in more than 121 countries.
Looking ahead, McGeorge said that New Look’s forward-thinking plan would stand it in good stead against competitors.
“Whilst we remain cautious about the economic outlook for the remainder of the financial year and the continuing squeeze on customers disposable income, we are confident that the actions we’ve taken to address our product, brand, stores and costs will continue to build on the growing momentum of our trading performance,” he said.
“In particular, current sales performance is now showing year on year growth.Our long term goal is sustainable growth and our mission remains the same as it has ever been: to deliver exciting, authoritative, appealing fashion, at the right price every time, and across whichever channel is most convenient to our customers.”