New Look bounces back into profit


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The Independent Online

Fashion retailer New Look has bounced back into profit after a turbulent year and unveiled plans for a rapid opening programme in China.

New Look also hailed its refinancing last month via a bond offering which pushed out the maturity on its £1.1 billion net debt to 2018 and reduced the high-interest payment-in-kind notes element of this amount by half.

The retailer, which has more than 1100 stores globally, posted a pre-tax profit of £3.1 million over the 53 weeks to March 30, after a calamitous loss of £54.5 million the previous year. However, this level of profit still leaves it a country mile behind rivals Next, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Arcadia, the group behind Topshop and Topman.

New Look chairman Alistair McGeorge, who joined in 2011, said the improvement had been driven by reducing costs, selling more items at full-price and better sales at refurbished stores. He said: “If you go back two years, people were incredibly sceptical about whether New Look would survive and our ability to refinance.”

New Look, which has 590 UK shops, plans to open its first store in Beijing or Shanghai in March and will follow this with up to 25 in the world’s most populous country inside the first year.