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New Look emerges as Xmas winner

New Look saw UK like-for-like sales rise 2.8% for the 14 weeks ended January 3. Gross margin also rose by 170 basis points, making the retailer one of the few winners on the high street this Christmas.

New Look said total sales rose 14.5%, partly driven by store expansion in the UK and Europe. But the fashion chain also benefited from its value fashion positioning as shoppers tightened their belts.

New Look said its womenswear market share had risen by 0.3% to 5% for the year.

New Look also saw strong growth in online sales. It said it had had 1.1 million visitors to its website in its peak trading weak before Christmas.

New Look chief executive Carl McPhail said: “Despite the well documented pressures facing retailers and the UK consumer, I am pleased with the performance of the Group over the Christmas period. Our core fashion and value credentials have enabled New Look to trade through the difficult current economic environment, increase market share and make further investments in our international expansion. In addition, our new online channel is making tremendous progress and will be a further benefit in trading the business through a very challenging 2009.”

New Look chairman Phil Wrigley added: “I’m very pleased with these results and the achievements delivered by the team I put in place last April under Carl’s leadership. We are winning in an increasingly difficult market by staying focused on the delivery of fashion our customers want at prices they can afford. We expect the market will become more difficult in 2009 but we will continue to invest to drive growth in the UK and overseas and continue to develop our business to help us to do the best we can for our customers, continue our strong performance and achieve our goal to become significant and successful global retailers.”

To read a full interview with New Look chief executive Carl McPhail and chief finance office Alistair Miller click here.

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