New Look underlying operating profit rose 11.3% to £128.5m as it revealed it is exploring strategic options for its loss-making French business Mim.
The fashion retailer posted a £55m statutory pre-tax loss in the year to March 29 against a £3.1m pre-tax profit the prior year due to the exceptional non-cash impairment of £64.2m to write down the value of Mim’s net assets.
New Look group adjusted EBITDA rose 5.8% to £200.2m. Group sales jumped 3% to £1.53bn and group like-for-likes increased 2.2% from a 0.7% dip the prior year. UK like-for-likes advanced 3% from a 0.5% fall in 2013.
Despite the potential offloading of Mim, New Look powered ahead with international expansion during the year. It launched in China in the year. It now operates 10 stores in the country with stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Hanghzhou, and it is planning another 10 in the current financial year.
New Look also bought back its Polish franchise and 10 stores as it prepares to grow the estate.
Online sales surged 63.9% and sales from its own website soared 42.3%. It posted £22m of third-party online sales after signing up with fashion etailers Koovs, La Moda Smart Guy, The Iconic, Zalando and Zalora, following its tie-up on Asos. New Look product is now available in 195 countries.
New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “We have delivered a good result, growing both sales and EBITDA and maintaining our market share by value at 5.8%.
“It has been a year of real strategic development and I am delighted with the progress we have made in both our international strategy and multichannel offer. Our decision to build scale in four key geographies, namely China, Poland, Russia and Germany, is, we believe, key to New Look’s future continued success.
“Our strategy is to focus on building and developing the core New Look brand in the UK, internationally and online and on that basis we have taken the decision to explore strategic options for Mim, including potential divestment.
“While remaining vigilant on costs, we will continue to invest in identified growth areas. I am confident that New Look is going into the new financial year in a good position to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”