Profits vanish at New Look as sales dive

NEW Look’s hopes of floating on the public market looked increasingly distant yesterday as it admitted its profits in the past year were wiped out by lower sales and higher costs.

The budget fashion retailer said global like-for-like sales fell 5.5 per cent over the year and 7.1 per cent in the UK after customers found its clothing ranges too pricey.

The difficulties cut revenues by 0.2 per cent to £1.46bn, but operating profit dropped 40 per cent, to £98m from £162.7m in 2010, as it said it paid a host of additional charges. These included a £4.4m writedown in the value of its assets to their recoverable amount.

After administrative and finance expenses its pre-tax profit was cut to zero, from a £36m profit in 2010 – and after tax, it made a £2.9m loss.

Executive chairman Alistair McGeorge (pictured), who joined New Look in April after the abrupt exit of his predecessor, said the results were “disappointing”. Private equity-owned New Look has twice announced plans to float but has been forced to shelve the IPO.