New Look has recorded a stellar rise in profits and sales, as the first standalone menswear stores launched successfully and the business enjoyed steady growth in China.
The fast-fashion chain, which is one of the UK’s biggest clothing retailers, was acquired by South African investment firm Brait in June and while related transactional costs set the business back around £93.2, pre-tax profits climbed 40.6%. Sales in the 26 weeks to September 26 climbed 5.9% to £756m.
During the period, New Look opened an additional 52 stores in China and has leases signed to take its store count to 85 by March 2016.
A further 34 stores are now trading in the Concept format, bringing this number to 385 stores. The high street giant said that it will continue to roll out this format across the remainder of the estate.
The company also said that convenience across all channels remains key to its customer proposition, as additional delivery options drive own website sales and footfall into stores - 31% of New Look e-commerce customers use Click & Collect.
“These excellent results show the strength of the New Look offer and the strategic progress we have made in our product, stores and website,” said Anders Kristiansen, Chief Executive Officer. “Against an unpredictable consumer backdrop we are especially pleased to have seen further Q2 sales improvement and market share growth, on what were already strong Q1 figures.
We have also seen a positive reaction to our Autumn/Winter collection and we have been delighted with the initial performance of our men’s standalone stores.
Our Chinese stores continue to perform well as customers continue to react favourably to our fashion-forward offer. We remain on target to have 85 stores open in the country by year end.
“With the support of our new owners, Brait, we are planning to increase investment in our strategic initiatives to accelerate our growth.
As for current trading, the sector has benefitted from the return to more normalised weather conditions compared to last year. We continue to manage the business prudently but the positive reaction to our current product offer gives us confidence as we head into Christmas.”