New Look takes £64.2m hit from French division Mim

New Look has hailed a 'cracking start' to its latest trading period
New Look has hailed a 'cracking start' to its latest trading period
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Fashion chain New Look swung to a full-year loss after it wrote down the value of its French business and said it would consider selling the unit.

New Look, which was founded in 1969 and runs over 1,100 stores, booked an impairment charge of £64.2m on its French arm Mim.

This pushed New Look to a £55m loss in the year to March 29, compared with a £3.1m pre-tax profit a year ago.

However, the group said its trading over the last year was strong with like-for-like UK sales up 3 per cent, compared to a 0.5 per cent fall in 2013.

The firm added its adjusted earnings lifted 5.8 per cent to £200.2m last year.

New Look said its Mim business, which includes 356 stores, was loss-making last year. Apart from France, Mim also runs stores in Belgium, Morocco and Romania.

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “We are looking at a number of options for this business, including a divestment. We have had interest from others about Mim.”

The group called the fashion retail market volatile but Mr Kristiansen added that he was optimistic about the UK market and planned to add more stores.

The group also opened five shops in China last year, bringing its total to ten. It plans to open ten more over the coming year.

New Look also bought back its Polish franchise consisting of ten stores, and said this gave the unit a solid basis from which to grow.

The group saw its third-party e-commerce sales lift to £22m, from £1.6m a year ago, as it established agreements with online specialists such as ASOS, Koovs and La Moda.

New Look is owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira, as well as founder Tom Singh.

It had planned to list on the stock market in 2010, but the move was shelved amid turmoil in the financial markets.

Mr Kristiansen said the business was focused on expansion – in China, Poland, Russia and Germany – and had no plans to seek a flotation during the next 12 months.