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New Look boss unveils plans for separate menswear entrances

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen said he expects menswear sales to increase by 25% over the next 12 months as it rolls out a new concept that will include separate entrances for the men’s and women’s wear sections in some stores.

The retailer, which on Tuesday posted a 3.4% rise in revenue to £1.4bn for the year to March 28, will roll out a more prominent fit-out to the menswear sections in 50 stores over the next three months. It will add dedicated men’s entrances in stores that already have two doorways.

Kristiansen told Drapers: “Following the initial 50 stores, we will continue to refurbish the rest as we want to ensure customers see us as a dual-gender brand.

“We are happy with the results [of the wider menswear push] so far, but we are aware we won’t be seen as a menswear destination today or tomorrow. We see it as a growth engine for the business going forward.”

Menswear currently makes up 3.8% of New Look’s sales. The Oxford Street store, which was the first to be refitted three months ago, has experienced a 57% increase in menswear sales as a result.

H&M’s chief operating officer for menswear Christopher Englinde will join New Look as global director of menswear in August.

Kristiansen said Englinde, who spent 10 years at H&M, will help New Look to “nail the right products”, as he knows the menswear field “inside and out”.

The young fashion chain, which was sold to South African billionaire Christo Wiese’s investment firm Brait last month in a deal valuing it at £1.9bn, posted a £30m or 144% rise in pre-tax profit for the year, taking it to £51m.

Kristiansen attributed this to the strength of the retailer’s multichannel offer. Just over a quarter (28%) of orders placed through are picked up in-store using click-and-collect and 19% of those customers made a further purchase in store.

Total online sales were up 34% and mobile orders were up 115% for the period.

“Half of our online customers interact with our stores and that has proved powerful. It has definitely helped with boosting sales and profits,” Kristiansen explained.

“We look at how to make shopping as convenient as possible for shoppers; they can order up until 10.30pm and collect in-store the next day. We will also be launching with [delivery firm] Doddle in the coming months so they can pick their goods up in train stations.”

Kristiansen said current trading was good as the retailer has invested in transeasonal products including kimonos and white jeans to insure it is not reliant on hot, summery weather to boost sales.

He added: “People are complaining that the bad weather has resulted in sales not being where they should be, but we are trying to weather-proof our sales as we’re not guaranteed a super-hot summer.”

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