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New Look needs a firm hand for future growth

After nearly two years of upheaval, New Look has found itself a chief executive with strong credentials. Ruth Faulkner considers the challenges ahead for Anders Kristiansen.

Mention Bestseller to those outside of the fashion industry and you are likely to receive some fairly blank stares. If however, you were to name any of its staple of brands including Very, Vero Moda and Only, the reaction would most probably be quite different.

Bestseller is not only responsible for some of Europe’s best-known brands, it also owns a 20% stake in etail giant Asos

With fashion credentials like that, there are few who could argue that its deputy chief executive Anders Kristiansen seems like a natural choice to take the reins at New Look.

Not only does Kristiansen bring with him a wealth of international retail and brand experience, he graduated from Harvard Business School, something which is sure to prove beneficial in a business with a financial structure as complicated as New Look’s.

Without detailing the various resignations and returns to the business, it would be fair to say that New Look’s recent past has seen quite some change when it comes to the management team. All eyes are now on Kristiansen to bring some stability back to the company.

However, this is not to say though that the retailer hasn’t enjoyed some noteable achievements during this time.

New Look launched a branded offer online back in autumn 11 and by all accounts this is proving to be a successful venture. The retailer has also unveiled a new store format, culminating in the relaunch of its flagship Marble Arch store a few weeks ago.

Kristiansen enters a business, which has improved its product offer immeasurably over the last two seasons but clearly still has some big challenges ahead.

Having been the deputy chief executive of one of the most succesful brand houses of recent years, Kristiansen has the credentials to suggest he can take the business forward. He will have his work cut out for him, but the task should be within his grasp.


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