New Look’s Phil Wrigley has said the retailer’s international sales are likely to exceed its UK operation’s in the next five years.

The revelation came as the young-fashion retailer conducted a management reshuffle to strengthen its structure for further domestic and international expansion.

Wrigley has stepped up to become group executive chairman and Carl McPhail has taken Wrigley’s former role of chief executive. Paul Marchant has been promoted to chief operating officer and Alastair Miller to chief financial officer.

Wrigley said: “This has been a long-term plan. We needed to think about structure to move international expansion without a threat to the UK business.

“In time, international will be bigger than the UK. The time frame will be more like five years, but this will be dependent on the spread of growth in the UK.”

Despite the downturn, Wrigley said New Look was committed to opening 350,000 sq ft of UK retail space in the year to March 31. “We are still in growth mode. Make no mistake, we want to be as careful as we can, but we believe in growth both here and internationally.”

Menswear is another big growth area for New Look. Wrigley said the retailer could grow to secure 4 per cent of the UK market, which, according to Verdict, should hit sales of£9.2 billion this year. At present, New Look’s menswear sales account for less than 1 per cent.

Wrigley added that the retailer would enhance its menswear offer, with a focus on shoes, and introduce it to more stores.

New Look also promoted three executives to sit on its executive committee in new roles. Will Kernan becomes managing director for UK and Eire, Michael Lemner managing director for international and Linda Owen group HR director.