New Look sales and profits up despite the weather
New Look saw its pre-tax profits, excluding those of its French arm Mim, rise by 30.7% to Â£28.1 million in the first half of its financial year despite the warm autumn weather impacting sales.
In the 26 weeks to 27 September, New Look brand like-for-like sales rose by 6.9% while UK like-for-like sales climbed by 8%.
Meanwhile, New Look UK sales, including e-commerce, increased by 8.3% to £627.4 million.
New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “We are very pleased with these results which show progress across all parts of the business.
“There has been a great deal of commentary about the warm weather affecting UK high street sales and we are no different, but it is testament to the agility and responsiveness of our business, and appeal of our product that we maintained our strong gross margin in the period. Our continued focus on international expansion will help us to reduce our exposure to the UK weather in the longer term.”
Pre-tax profit across the group, including Mim, rose by 89.1% to £26.1 million.
The company said its international expansion programme was progressing to plan although it had exited Russia and Ukraine due to the political uncertainty. The company now has 14 stores trading in China and is on track to have 20 stores in the country by year end. It also increased its online presence in China through the Alibaba owned “T-mall” site.
Kristiansen continued: “We have made good progress both internationally and in terms of developing our E-commerce proposition. We have increased our presence in China, both in store and online, expanded our Polish business, launched French and German versions of our website and continued to make improvements to our online user experience.
“We are continuing to deliver on our strategic goals we outlined nearly two years ago, and we are well prepared for the Christmas trading period.”
The company said the turnaround of Mim was progressing well with a sale expected to complete by the year end.
In spite of the results New Look said it remained cautious about the outlook for the rest of the financial year.
In statement, New Look said: “Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions remain uncertain and the unseasonably warm weather in September continued through October. As a result, we remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year. However, we are confident in the quality and design of our product and stores and that we are well set up for the key Christmas trading period.”
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