New Look promises return to profit

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The Independent Online

New Look, the debt-laden fashion chain, has vowed to return to profitability this financial year after it plunged to a £55m loss in 2011.

The retailer, which has more than 1,100 stores in 16 countries, has repaid £74m debt, slashed costs and improved profit margins by selling more clothing at full price over the past six months.

Alistair McGeorge, New Look's chairman since April last year, said: "For the full year, we are expecting to make a small profit. The will to win in this organisation is a world away from where it was 18 months ago."

But UK like-for-like sales fell 3.1 per cent over the half-year to 22 September. Over the next 18 months, Mr McGeorge expects New Look – which sells clothing ranges from the celebrity Kelly Brook – to refinance its net debt of more than £1bn.