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Buoyant New Look hails market share gains

New Look has stolen market share from H&M, Marks & Spencer and Topshop and Topman as its turnaround continues to pick up pace.

The retailer this week week published results for the 39 weeks to December 28, showing EBITDA had risen 9.9%to £187m, with group revenues up 5.6% to £1.21bn.

Strong Christmas trading and rocketing ecommerce sales- up 65.69% over the period contributed. Parkas and novelty jumpers were among the bestsellers.

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said it was “overall a really robust performance, despite two things outside our control” – unseasonably warm weather in October and high levels of discounting in the run-up to Christmas.

Despite this, the retailer took “significant” market share from key competitors each month of the third quarter, with group sales rising 5% to £452.1m during the period.

“Our strategy is around doing the job that Topshop, Topman, River Island and Bestseller [which includes Jack & Jones and Vera Moda] are doing around fashion and products, so I guess we are taking market share from those guys and also M&S and H&M in the UK,” Kristiansen said.

“We took more market share in that third quarter than we have been taking for a very long time. We think what we are doing is working because market share data is testament to that.”

According to analyst Verdict Retail, New Look is sixth in terms of UK womenswear market share, with 3.4%.

Kristiansen, previously chief executive of Bestseller, also confirmed Drapers’ report (February 8) that New Look has “big ambitions” to ramp up its menswear business – which at present accounts for just 0.5% of the total market – saying standalone stores were being considered.

There was a “95% chance” that any menswear-only off shoot would retain the New Look branding, he added.

Following the hire of Shailen Unalkat as head of buying for menswear, Kristiansen is also looking to recruit a menswear director.

“We are excited about growing the menswear business,” he said. “We have big ambitions. We know there is appetite out there.” While menswear sales make up 3.5% to 4% of total in-store turnover, it accounts for 14% of New Look’s sales through Asos and 21% on Zalando. At Danish etailer SmartGuy, menswear accounts for 48% of total New Look sales.

New Look’s international plans are on track, with two stores launching in China on February 28 be on the cards. “We would like to build a solid business and execute our strategy … once we have got some credible traction [internationally], that is when you can

Separately, Drapersonline.com reported the sudden departure this week of buying and merchandising director Philip Walker, after less than a year in the role.

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