New Look is aiming to double its trading space to over 7 million sq ft in the UK, putting it in the running to become Britain’s biggest fashion retailer by floor space.
The retailer, which has more than 600 stores and trades from 3.7 million sq ft of space in the UK, has been pursuing a store re-siting strategy to move to bigger premises.
Chief executive Carl McPhail said: “We do think there is the opportunity to double the size of the business in the UK.
“By moving from a small store to large stores we improve the environment for our customer, rebase the density and enable the business to continue to develop ranges and grow the offer.”
The shift will give New Look trading space ahead of its leading fashion rivals. According to estimates by Verdict Research, last year trading space at Next was 5.6 million sq ft, Arcadia’s was 5.5 million sq ft, Primark’s was 5.5 million sq ft, Marks & Spencer’s clothing space was 4 million sq ft, Matalan’s was more than 6 million sq ft and TK Maxx’s was more than 5 million sq ft.
McPhail added that he would take a cautious approach to the expansion of New Look’s UK retail trading space.
“There is space available and some of it is very cheap but good space always costs,” he said. “Given our performance and strong covenant we are getting approached on some interesting space.”
In its January trading update New Look revealed a robust 2.8 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the crucial Christmas trading period.
Earlier this year New Look unveiled ambitious plans to enable it to compete in the global fashion arena, including the relocation of its head office to London, overseas expansion and the development of its online offer.
This week it launched a store in Cairo. It has 23 stores in France and Belgium and 19 franchise stores in the Middle East. It also operates 291 Mim shops in France and Belgium.