New Look is poised to launch the most extensive click-and-collect service in fashion retail, an initiative that is expected to transform the way customers shop with the retailer.

Click-and-collect will make its debut in early October in New Look’s 600 stores – more than closest rival Next, which has 532 shops – and is expected be the biggest driver of sales at the business in the next three years.

The venture forms part of New Look’s ‘More ways to shop’ drive, which emphasises its multichannel credentials and will be heavily promoted to shoppers.

New Look ecommerce director Dom McBrien said click-and- collect could account for 40% of sales over the next three years and he expected the service to drive 500,000 store visits in the second half of this financial year, providing opportunities to cross-sell.

He said: “At 600 stores it’s probably the biggest roll-out of click-and-collect in our sector and highly convenient for the customer.

“We’re fundamentally changing the way people shop at New Look. It’s a brilliant footfall driver. It’s probably the biggest sales driver we’ll have over the next three years so payback should not be a problem.” McBrien said that in some retailers’ stores it was not obvious where customers collect orders but New Look will avoid that problem with a clearly signposted area.

Goods will be released using a hand-held device so there will be no need for staff to use the tills.

He said: “The key is to make it a really good experience, so we’re putting in place the right communication.” Delivery to stores will be free for customers, who will be kept informed of the progress of their orders such as when they have been dispatched and when they are ready for collection.

Click-and-collect has become a powerful weapon in the armoury of multichannel retailers, who have as a group been outperforming pureplay etailers.

Earlier this month Next reported that 13% of its Directory customers collect their orders from stores. Next observed: “Directory customers clearly value the integrated delivery and returns facility that we offer in our stores.”