Womenswear strong over the festive period
The UK's fourth-largest womenswear retailer, New Look, has reported an increase in like-for-like sales for the 14 weeks to January 1 of 11.6 per cent. Total UK sales for the period were up 18.8 per cent.

The results seem to buck the trend of consumer sales over Christmas, with many retailers expected to report disappointing trading over the festive period.

The retailer put the strong sales over the holiday, along with a like-for-like sales increase of 8.2 per cent for the six months ending September 25, down to doubling the number of its product designers and improving the turnaround of products. It intends to consolidate its two distribution centres into one by autumn this year.

New Look chief executive Phil Wrigley said: 'I am extremely pleased with our first steps in transforming the business. Our customers have taken to our initiatives well and our results today reflect the strong progress we have made. In 2005, we will build on this progress and look to further strengthen our brand and scale of the business.'