New Look has reported a rise in first-quarter sales and earnings, and detailed plans for standalone menswear stores.

  • Adjusted EBITDA up 2% to £61.1m in first quarter
  • Sales ahead 4.3% to £369.8m
  • New menswear director to take up role in September as standalone men’s stores open

The fashion retailer, which during the period was sold to South African billionaire Christo Wiese’s Brait investment vehicle, also reported strong online sales growth and progress in its key international market of China.

New Look’s sales climbed 4.3% to £369.8m in the period to June 27, when UK like-for-likes climbed 4.1%.

New Look brand like-for-likes also advanced 4.1%.

Revenues from New Look’s website surged 38.7% while online sales through third-party partnerships rose by 27%.

The performance resulted in a 2% rise in adjusted EBITDA to £61.1m.

Underlying operating profit was up 6.8% to £47.3m. Profit before tax, adjusted to reflect non-recurring exceptional transaction and refinancing costs, was ahead 9% to £19.3m.

Taking those costs, which amounted to £93m, into account New Look reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £73.7m.

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said:  “These strong results demonstrate New Look’s ongoing progress during a quarter in which we have changed ownership and refinanced the business.

“Further UK sales growth is particularly encouraging, while our latest successful store openings in China ensure our expansion plans continue on track.

“While the consumer environment remains unpredictable, we continue to manage the business accordingly.”

Mobile orders

The retailer said it achieved “continued growth in China following a successful first full-year’s trading”. It now has 39 stores there and another 40 signed for the full year.

New Look said that orders through its mobile site rocketed 97% in the quarter to account for 50% of its total website traffic.

New Look will open five standalone menswear stores this year.

The shops follow a trial of a new approach to the category at New Look’s Oxford Circus branch.

New Look chief creative officer Roger Wightman said: “Menswear is a key strategic priority for New Look, and the opening of menswear standalone stores represents a natural next step for us.

“The opening of menswear standalone stores will allow us to more fully showcase the enhanced quality of our product ranges.”

New menswear director Christopher Englinde will join New Look from H&M as menswear director in September.