Nick Goodway: Teenagers move markets, so the all-new New Look had better stay well clear

Outlook Three years ago my then teenage daughters helped to scupper New Look's planned stock market flotation. I had applied the highly scientific Dad's credit card test. Choose a store, enter it when it opened on a Saturday morning and rendezvous with your Pater at the checkout 30 minutes later.

Primark won hands down (they were much younger then). New Look barely made a small dent on the credit card balance.

New Look's owners – the private equity firms Apax and Permira, alongside its founder, Tom Singh – wisely decided in February 2012 not to go ahead with an initial public offering that could have valued it at a staggering £1.7bn.

I, unwisely, failed to follow through the experiment and so did not buy shares in Primark's owner, Associated British Foods, which have since doubled in price.

Anyway, to the present, and New Look has a new look. In fact several.

It has new management with the chief executive Anders Kristiansen, a Dane newly arrived from Chinese retailing.

It has that new look (I can't help the puns), or, as the management prefers to say, it has "concept stores". To be precise, about 170 of the 590 UK shops have been refurbished. And management (the new one) says they are trading much better than the old ones.

It has new financing. A successful bond issue in May pushed the debt maturity out to 2018 and net debt is steady at £1.1bn. That debt, and the plan to pay it down, was another reason the 2010 share issue was scuppered.

And New Look even seems to have traded well through the bizarre weather we have experienced since April. It needed fewer sales with less stock and entered July's summer heatwave at a storming pace, with dresses and skirts flying off the rails.

Best of all New Look reinforced the point that an initial public offering is not on the cards for at least this year and probably several years to come.

Buoyed by the new management's enthusiasm, I returned to the younger daughter for her views, via BBM, natch.

"Cheap shoes," she opened positively. "Everything else just looks crap to me."

"No idea why they spent so much money on their Oxford Street store just to look like Topshop but allow the Brent Cross branch to look cheaper than Primark." Ouch.

And the dresses and skirts? "Poorly designed and poorly made. " So not a fan? "Last place I would shop even after Primark."

While these views are not necessarily those of the author of this column, it would make a lot of sense for New Look to remain in private hands for a while longer.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago