In February, New Look’s CEO Anders Kristiansen spoke on the high street retailer’s readiness to try floating on the London Stock Exchange. Previously, Kristiansen had said the fashion chain wouldn’t consider a public listing until or unless it has built up a “solid business” overseas.
It seems New Look is more dressed up and ready to go than ever, as the British retailer’s private equity backers mull plans to offload the chain. It is understood that demand for New Look in China could attract Chinese buyers into something of a bidding war for the group.
Fosun, a Chinese conglomerate which took a stake in Thomas Cook last month, CDH and Citic Capital are all said to be eyeing New Look, highlighting its popularity in the country.
Permira and Apax, the shop’s backers, have owned the group for over a decade. Under the general time scale of private equity ownership, it’s probably time for a change.
New Look is preparing for the opening of around 60 stores this year, with at least five more outlets planned in Poland, (where it already trades from 11 stores). In China, there are 18 New Look branches, the main growth market for the fast fashion retailer. Kristiansen had already said that the majority of this year’s planned new stores in China had already been signed up and New Look also sells clothing through Alibaba’s Tmall website, which has approximately 180m buyers.
The number of UK stores in New Look’s portfolio will likely stay as they are for 2015, but five stores will be relocated to better sites.
In November, New Look reported a 4.7 % rise in half-year revenues.