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New Look shelves its plans for a fresh float as gains market share

BUDGET fashion chain New Look said yesterday it has no immediate plans for a second attempt at a stock-market flotation.

The company, which is owned by private-equity firm Permira and Apax, postponed plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in February after market conditions became difficult. The company hoped to raise £650m in the move, aimed at reducing its debt.

UK like-for-like sales rose five per cent in the year to 27 March, as New Look clawed customers away from rivals.

Underlying profits rose 17.7 per cent to £163m after sales rose 10.7 per cent to £1.46bn.

Chief executive Carl McPhail said there were no plans to revisit the IPO in the near future and added that its sales were strong.

But he urged caution about future trading and warned that an expected increase in VAT would be a “nightmare” for retailers. He said: “We would prefer it to be put off until January. It will be a nightmare logistically and [cause] frustration for consumers.”

He added that part of the tax rise, which is almost certain to be announced later this month, is expected to be passed on to customers. New Look’s underlying profits rose 17.7 per cent to £163m on the back of total sales up 10.7 per cent at £1.46bn.

New Look has 1,018 shops across the UK.