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IPO maps out the world for New Look

Ana Santi

Isn’t it time the UK had its own truly global fashion retailer?

The UK undeniably has many great fashion businesses but none which has yet built an international platform on a par with global giants H&M and Zara. Until now. The expansion plans being laid out by New Look this week as it launched its £650m IPO make it clear that it aims to be the UK’s answer to H&M.

But can New Look do it? It has proved itself in the UK, particularly in womenswear where it is the number one retailer by both value and volume of women’s denim, and has established a strong footwear offer.

Now New Look is aiming to take menswear and kidswear to the same level. Kidswear should be pretty straightforward, as it’s a market dominated by the value players. The potential is there for menswear, driven by strong product that delivers on fashion and price. But its men’s offer needs more presence, so the doubling of space put aside for menswear in the retailer’s new London Oxford Street flagship is a smart move.

It is precisely New Look’s ability to marry great product with keen prices that could see it succeed internationally. Fast-fashion retailers have outperformed the rest of the market during the recession, and New Look’s sales have been healthy for a long time. But while UK retailers have global ambitions, there is no guarantee of success, and understanding the market you’re going into is as vital as offering great product.

With a strong management team at the helm to guide the process, there is no reason why New Look won’t succeed. And considering the UK’s reputation as a fashion leader, isn’t it time we had our own truly global fashion retailer?

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