New Look has hailed a jump in first half sales and profits, as the fast fashion chain stepped up its expansion in China and launched its first standalone menswear stores in the UK.
The retailer, which was snapped up by South African retail mogul Christo Wiese in June, said sales at stores open more than a year rose by 4.9 per cent in the 26 weeks to 26 September, with total revenue up 5.9 per cent to £756m.
Pre-tax profits surged by 40.6 per cent to £39.5m compared with £28.1m in the first half of last year, while underlying operating profit was up 10.9 per cent to £94.8m.
New Look has undergone a major overhaul under chief executive Anders Kristiansen, after selling its French business Mim last year, broadening its product range to include a higher priced better quality products, and expanding its presence overseas, namely China.
The company launched 52 stores in the country over the period and has signed leases that will take its store count in China to 85 by March 2016.
It has also strengthened its menswear business by opening its first four standalone stores, with around 15-20 stores in total expected to open over the next year.
Kristiansen said: “These excellent results show the strength of the New Look offer and the strategic progress we have made in our product, stores and website. Against an unpredictable consumer backdrop we are especially pleased to have seen further second quarter sales improvement and market share growth, on what were already strong first quarter figures.”
New Look’s former private equity owners Apax and Permira sold a 90 per cent stake New Look in June to Brait, Wiese’s investment vehicle, for £780m. The chain’s management and the family of founder Tom Singh kept the rest.
The company now has 800 stores across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including 600 in the UK & Ireland.