• The fashion retailer’s EBITDA was up 7%
  • UK like-for-like sales rose 3.4%
  • The retailer incurred a pre-tax loss of £34m due to exceptional costs of Brait acquisition and bond refinancing

New Look has reported an increase in full-year profits and sales in what boss Anders Kristiansen has hailed as a “milestone year”.

The fashion retailer reported a 16.8% increase in adjusted pre-tax profit to £59.1m in the 52 weeks to 26 March, but incurred a pre-tax loss of £34m due to the one-off costs of its acquisition by South African investment firm Brait last May and bond refinancing.

The retailer’s like-for-likes were up 3.4% while total sales soared 5.4% due to a 28% rise in own website sales and a 42% increase in sales through third-party websites.

New Look also delivered like-for-like growth in China after its entry into the market at the beginning of last year. The fashion retailer operated 85 stores in the country by year-end, up from 19 the previous year and is increasing its physical footprint in the region.

Chief executive Kristiansen said the retailer had seen “strong local reaction to our affordable, fast-fashion offer” in China.

“We plan to open a further 50 stores in China during the coming year. Since the year end, we’ve opened seven more stores already, taking us to 92 altogether in this market,” he added.

The fashion retailer’s menswear proposition is also growing at pace after opening its first standalone store last year and the business plans to open 20 new outlets this year.

Kristiansen said: “These are good results during what has been a milestone year for the business.

“In particular, the increase in our like-for-like sales reflects the strength of our multichannel proposition. Across all our channels – in store, online or via click-and-collect – we are ensuring that shopping with New Look is as seamless and convenient as possible.”

New Look has defied the lacklustre results that fashion giants including Next and Marks & Spencer have generated in recent months, but Kristiansen is not complacent about the challenges ahead.

“Retailing in the UK is more challenging than it has been for some time, and we expect some impact on the business,” he said.

“However, whilst we remain watchful of volatility in consumer sentiment I am confident in our strategy and our ability to continue to execute it long term.”