Underwhelming results from New Look and AO.com, plus gloomy BRC retail sales, compounded to paint a bleak portrait of the retail landscape today.

Mid-market fashion retailer New Look suffered a slump in full-year profits and like-for-like sales amid a stark warning that the coming year will “remain challenging”.

Its boss Anders Kristiansen later spoke to Retail Week about the challenging and competitive backdrop impacting fashion retailers across the piste, which he said was exacerbated by a continuing trend of shoppers splashing out on leisure activities.

Tapping into this leisure trend, the New Look boss has a new format up his sleeve, which includes in-store hair salons and make-up bars.

But will blow dry’s and make-overs provide enough lift to revive New Look’s fortunes?

The ‘AO Way’

AO.com also referenced the ″challenging” UK trading conditions in its preliminary results today.

But, despite the slumped pound leading to “inescapable” cost price increases, AO.com’s new boss Steve Caunce insisted the team is not “sitting around all gloomy”.

The growing electricals etailer said: “Our strategy is very simple – delight the customers and they will keep coming back”.

It did warn, however, that the heat of the macro economic environment had continued to burn into the first quarter of its next financial year.

Quote of the day

“I don’t get any pressure [from them]. They can see what the market is. They are long-term investors.”

— New Look boss Anders Kristiansen when asked if the board still has faith in him

Today in numbers


The decline in UK retail sales in May on a like-for-like basis, according to the latest BRC data


The spike in full-year sales at Joules, which today ramped up its profit guidance

Tomorrow’s agenda

Tomorrow brings interim results from Shoe Zone.

Emily Hardy, senior reporter