New Look eyes up overseas expansion plan

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New Look has outlined a £100 million investment plan that will see it expand into Germany and grow its presence in China following a surge in profits.

Speaking to the Press Association, chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “We want to expand into the German market, we have one concession at the moment and we’ll open our first store in October. We want 75 stores over the next five years.”

Mr Kristiansen was speaking after New Look notched up increased sales and profits in its first full year of ownership under South African firm Brait.

Revenue rose 5.4 per cent to £1.4 billion, driven by a 3.4 per cent increase in like-for-like sales at its UK stores. Website sales were up 27.9 per cent and in China, where it has 92 stores, like-for-like sales grew 8.8 per cent.

Pre-tax profits grew 16.8 per cent to £59.1 million and New Look said it would open 50 more Chinese stores, taking its total to 142.

Brait, which acquired New Look for £763.5 million in May last year, has given the green light to increase investment from £73 million to £100 million in order to fund the expansion drive.

However, Mr Kristiansen warned that retailing in the UK is “more challenging than it has been for some time”, flagging poor weather and Brexit fears impacting on consumer sentiment.

He said: “There are a number of factors affecting consumer sentiment, they include spending in other areas, weather and the referendum. I don’t know exactly how we’re being affected by the referendum, but it is creating nervousness and uncertainty. We want to get past June 23 as quickly as possible.

“But it doesn’t worry me because that’s retail, that’s what we have to deal with. We have a solid foundation, a good strategy and a new owner committed to that strategy.”