Donna Kelly, Co-founder of fashion recommendation website Dressipi.
These are boom times for New Look, which opened its first store in China a month ago. We’ve noticed big changes this year in the way that users interact with the retailer and its clothes, so much so that it has now replaced Zara as the UK’s favourite place to shop in our biannual Fashion Brands Index. But what does this tell us about New Look’s strategy?
New Look has always been good at translating catwalk trends into Saturday night looks for young women, and wardrobe updates for slightly older demographics. We’re seeing signs that it is stealthily moving up the value chain.
According to user data, New Look customers are price conscious (84% identify themselves as high street shoppers) but they’re now mainly fashion-driven. Only 11% of New Look shoppers rate Primark as a favoured brand, whereas 59% prefer River Island and 57% H&M.
While New Look’s core market is still students (26%), it is now supplemented by a chunk of customers who fall into older age brackets: nearly 40% work in smart-casual offices or are mums. Its popularity still drops off among shoppers over the age of 36, but with 15% of 31 to 35-year-olds saying it’s their favourite retailer, New Look seems to be retaining customers for longer.
We tested this by looking at how shoppers interacted with New Look garments on our site. The most liked New Look dresses on Dressipi were sleeveless, mid-thigh and perfect ‘party girl’ choices. A different picture emerged with other garments. The tops and jackets women liked were versatile round-neck T-shirts and single-breasted blazers ideal for more mature customers. This was a retailer winning over customers with reliable year-round basics as much as weekend finery.
These smart decisions, coupled with an awareness of what customers want at different stages of their lives, have broadened
New Look’s appeal among British women. It is working at home and will be interesting to see how it translates into new markets.