New Look was in the headlines this week after revealing plans to introduce concessions such as nail bars into its stores in order to increase shoppers’ dwell time.

New Look was in the headlines this week after revealing plans to introduce concessions such as nail bars into its stores in order to increase shoppers’ dwell time.

With some estimates that there is a 1.3% increase in sales for every 1% uplift in dwell time, this is just another sign that New Look is doing things right.

Because it has such a large physical presence in the UK, New Look is clever to look for new ways to ensure that each of its stores is contributing to the overall business as much as possible, whether through nail bars or any other concessions that will attract customers into its shops and keep them there. This kind of strategic thinking may help to explain why the company recorded a significant uptick in profits in its latest financial update.

In any case, it’s good to see New Look back in the headlines for all the right reasons, rather than for its refinancing arrangements alone. Its online business, in particular, has performed very well in the three months to June, surging 78.7 per cent. Online sales now account for 10 per cent of all of New Look’s sales, which were £1.5bn in the last financial year.

New Look has supported this growth by overhauling its website and developing easy-to-use apps for mobile phones and tablets. Click-and-collect has also continued to thrive, with 25% of all online orders now choosing this delivery option. Selling menswear and accessories through Asos was yet another brainwave. New Look’s foray into social media is paying off as well - its efforts in this area have resulted in more than 2 million likes on Facebook and 121,000 Twitter followers.

All of these successes can probably be traced to New Look’s strong management team, which seems to be focussing on rationalising its domestic presence while also pursuing international opportunities. In the UK, the retailer reportedly plans to close 20 of its 590 stores this year, but will continue with its store revamp programme after noting that upgraded stores have delivered an average 9.3% uplift in profits.

Internationally, the retailer has already completed the appointment of a management team for its Chinese operations and is now working to open its first store in China in March 2014.

Considering where New Look was just six months ago, the retailer seems to have turned an important corner by combining its store refurbishment programme with some innovative ideas for pulling in more customers, both physically and virtually. It’s still early days, but this winning combination may well provide New Look with a new lease of life.

  • Dan Coen, director, Zolfo Cooper