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New Look China adds 25 stores

UK high street fashion retailer New Look expanded its store network in China from 85 stores to 110 in the last year.

The company, in the midst of a wide-ranging restructure, gave little away about its China foray in its annual results released this week. But it said like-for-like sales in New Look China stores continued to grow.

In contrast to China, global revenue fell 2.4 per cent to £1.4547 billion and its core New Look brand’s sales fell 6.6 per cent. Online sales on its own website grew 14.3 per cent and on third-party e-commerce sales by 30.9 per cent.

Investment in strategic initiatives took its toll on the bottom line, with EBITDA earnings down 31.8 per cent to £155 million and a pre-tax loss of £16.6 million (much improved on the previous year’s £34.9 million.

CEO Anders Kristiansen described the retail environment as “more competitive than ever”.

“We have seen a growing shift in customer mindset during the year to a ‘buy now, wear now’ mentality, which challenges us to be even faster in identifying and responding to trends, buying with more conviction and becoming ever more agile. We’ve responded by improving our buying processes, working to achieve an even faster supply chain and strengthening our buying and design teams to make sure we deliver a stronger product proposition.

“Our industry continues to evolve. Immediacy and convenience matter more than ever before in the search for great fashion. Our customers need to be absolutely clear what we stand for and to feel inspired by what we do. We are renewing our determination to offer even more compelling lead-in entry prices across our ranges. By being faster on the latest trends and acting with added conviction, we will reduce reliance on promotions and discounting.”

Kristiansen said New Look expects trading conditions for the coming year to remain challenging. “We remain resolutely committed to delivering on our strategy for the benefit of all our customers and stakeholders and are confident we have the right strategy in place to do so.”

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