New Look sees trade pick-up

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British fashion retailer New Look said it had seen a positive shopper response to new ranges in 2015 after posting a fall in third quarter underlying sales.

The firm, owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, said sales at stores open over a year fell 1.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 27 after unseasonably warm weather hurt sales in October and November.

Total sales over the period fell 1.6 per cent to £399.9m and adjusted core earnings were down 2.7 per cent to £76.8m.

In the UK, like-for-like sales fell 1.0 per cent, while e-commerce sales across the group jumped 28.6 per cent.

New Look, which pulled a planned stock market listing in 2010 amid turbulent financial markets, goes up against firms such as Primark and Next in a fiercely competitive British fashion retail market. It has 569 stores in the UK and trades from over 800 stores in 21 countries.

“The return of more seasonal weather in January has supported the planned clearance of winter lines as we resume full price trading,” said CEO Anders Kristiansen.

“Whilst we remain watchful of the wider consumer environment, we remain confident in the strength of the New Look brand and we have seen a promising early response to our new ranges.”

The firm trades from 18 stores in China and said it was on track to have 20 stores there by the end of the year. Further store openings are planned in France, Germany and Poland.