New Look has ruled out joining the throng of retail IPO candidates as it focuses on ramping up its international expansion.
While ruling out an IPO in the “foreseeable future”, chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “You don’t deliver a solid business overnight. We need to deliver international and ecommerce growth first. I know there’s a window [for IPOs] but we need a more solid business.”
New Look will open its first store in China next month and a four further stores “within a couple of weeks” of its debut. Kristiansen revealed its Chinese stores will have a new “premium” store design which includes virtual reality ‘magic mirrors’, which overlay the customer’s image with pictures of clothing.
Kristiansen said New Look was “either on plan or ahead of plan” in its international expansion.
It will take over its Polish franchise business in the next week and plans to open further stores. New Look is also developing overseas, own-language websites in Poland, Germany and France.
Kristiansen said that New Look had a “very robust” quarter in the face of unseasonable weather and heavy promotions across the sector. Sales advanced 5% to £452.1m in the 13 weeks to December 28 while underlying operating profit remained flat at £64.8m and adjusted EBITDA was also static at £83.3m.
Kristiansen said that profit remained flat as two seasonal Sales fell within the period. He added that New Look had a “good start” to January.
New Look gained “significant market share”, during the period, according to Kristiansen, which he said gave confidence that it was “on the right track”.
Ecommerce was the “star performer” according to outgoing chief financial officer Alastair Miller with sales soaring 65.6%over the quarter. Kristiansen said it is looking to boost its multichannel business by offering Sunday delivery.