Plans to accelerate expansion
Fashion retailer New Look has revealed that EBITDA profits were up 9 per cent to£174.1 million and sales rose 6 per cent to£862.2 million for the year to March and the retailer increased trading space by 12 per cent to 2.5 million sq ft (232,250 sq m).

For the comparable period last year, sales were£813.4 million and profits were£159.7 million.

However, like-for-like sales in the UK fell 2.8 per cent, which the store group blamed on 'very tough comparables' and the move to a£40 million warehouse.

During the year, New Look completed big projects designed to transform the business, including a new distribution centre, development of international operations, the roll-out of menswear and an overhaul of the supply chain, all of which are expected to fuel growth.

New look has also launched ranges for maternity and taller women and plans to introduce childrenswear this autumn.

The retailer will accelerate growth this year. As a private company, it is re-investing twice as much money as it did when it was public.

New Look has taken out a£359 million loan - one of the largest PIK loans in Europe - to enable it to reward investors.

Chief executive Phil Wrigley said: '2005 to 2006 has been a year of huge progress in the further transformation of New Look. This included a£40 million investment in a fully automated warehouse at Lymedale, opened in the second half of the year. The new warehouse is capable of handling some 3 million units per week, which will support the group's distribution requirements for the foreseeable future.

'We also acquired 35 stores from Littlewoods that, together with other planned space growth, will add some 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sq m) to our overall selling space during this financial year.'