New Look is back in the black on an underlying basis after its turnaround programme bore fruit.
The retailer reported core underlying operating profit of £33.2m in its latest year compared to a loss of £35.7m the year before.
Revenue over the year fell 3.8% to £1.24bn, which New Look said was in line with expectations “given focus on driving more profitable sales and fewer stores”. In its main UK market core like-for-likes slipped 1.6%.
On a statutory basis, New Look made a loss before tax of £522.2m, compared with £190.2m the previous year. The retailer said that was principally driven by £423.3m in goodwill and non-cash brand impairment charges as it restructured.
New Look executive chair Alistair McGeorge said: “We have achieved a remarkable amount over the past year, delivering on our aim to achieve financial and operational stability.
“Firstly, we have made progress in recovering the broad appeal of our product and have delivered year-on-year improvements in profitability across key areas. Our ecommerce and store businesses are now working together better than ever, and we are starting to see the benefits of improved speed to market.
“Secondly, we have exceeded our cost-saving plans, addressed our previously over-rented UK store estate, completed the review of our international businesses, and delivered further operational efficiencies across the business.
“Thirdly, we have successfully completed our financial restructuring, which has secured the company’s future and long-term profitability by materially deleveraging our balance sheet and providing us with the financial flexibility to better attack our future.
“We recognise that the past year has been incredibly challenging for our colleagues, investors, suppliers, creditors and other stakeholders. We are grateful for their continued support, and I particularly want to thank those colleagues who left the business for their contribution during their time here.”
But he added: “While New Look enters the new financial year in a fundamentally healthier and stronger position, in many respects today marks the starting line. We have more work to do to enhance trading and deliver further operational improvements as we continue our turnaround plans.
“We expect the retail environment to remain as challenging as ever in the year ahead, with continued Brexit uncertainty and unseasonable weather impacting current trading. However, we will continue to focus on what is in our control by further enhancing profitability through our fantastic product, building brand equity and grasping new market opportunities.”