New Look boss Anders Kristiansen has said the value fashion retailer hopes to win customers from failed department store chain BHS.
Speaking this morning as New Look its full-year results, Kristiansen revealed that research had shown 18% of BHS customers also shop with New Look.
“So hopefully we will gain something from that [customer base crossover],” he said.
He added that some former BHS head office employees had already joined New Look’s headquarters and that he was “very happy with them”. He declined to say which departments they had joined.
Kristiansen said New Look was not interested in BHS stores, or those of collapsed menswear retailer Austin Reed. He said the estates did not fit with New Look’s property strategy, which includes expanding the square footage of its menswear standalone stores. Its Newcastle Metrocentre store, which will open later this year, is 4,000 sq ft – double the space of its average existing menswear stores.
Speaking off the back of positive results, which included a 3.4% rise in like-for-likes and a rise of 16.8% in adjusted pretax profits, Kristiansen said: “We are very bullish, we very much believe in what we are doing.
“Our success is all down to the strategy we put in place almost three and a half years ago. All of that has led to a really good year that we are happy with. It has been a milestone year because everything has been coming together for us.”
That strategy consists of focusing on five key areas: brand, multichannel, international expansion, product development and menswear.
The retailer will launch its first wholly-owned German store this year. It already has two franchised stores in the country. Its new store will be in one of Germany’s ” biggest and most prominent” shopping malls.
Kristiansen said that the German market was attractive for several reasons. “It is known for value fashion, it is a sizeable market - if we can make five stores work, we can make 300 work. The Germans are also shifting to more trend oriented fashion, which I think is what we’re really good at.”
Kristiansen said while it was difficult to predict the next year, he was keen for the referendum to conclude.
“The main thing is the whole challenge around the referendum coming up,” he said. “We would like to get beyond that. Whether it is a yes or no we don’t have an opinion on, we just want to get it behind us.”
New Look is still searching for a replacement for chief financial officer Mike Iddon, who exited the business less than two years after joining. Group finance director Richard Collyer is the most senior finance figure. Kristiansen said the retailer was looking for candidates externally and internally.