Fashion retailer New Look suffered a 9.1% plunge in like-for-likes at its core UK business during the peak Christmas period, when group sales slid UK 3.4%.

Snow was estimated to have reduced sales by £15m in the 15 weeks to January 8. New Look’s gross margin took a hit, which the retailer put down to “a higher promotional mix and stock clearance” as well as the bad weather.

New Look chief executive Carl McPhail said: “Trading conditions in the UK have continued to be challenging and the adverse weather in December significantly affected footfall and spending patterns.”

McPhail warned the outlook for 2011 was uncertain and the retailer “remained cautious” about the impact of the VAT increase and Government cuts on consumer spending.