New Look has blamed a 4.7% fall in UK like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 24 December 2016 on an “extremely challenging” UK market, pointing to reduced footfall and deep discounting on the high street.
Group like-for-like sales were also down by 4.6%. Overall revenue was up slightly to £419.3m and online fared well, with own-website sales up 18.2% and third party ecommerce sales for the quarter up 73%.
UK like-for-like sales for the year to date were down 7.3% with group like-for-like sales down 7%. Underlying operating profit for the year to date fell by 32.6%, slipping from £165.4m to £111.5m. Overall revenue also fell 2.9% to £1.14bn.
Chief executive officer Ander Kristiansen said: “Total sales for the quarter were level as a result of good performances outside the UK, online and in menswear, proving that our strategy of diversification is the right one for our business. It remains key to our growth to continue to diversify our offer and to invest in our priority international markets.
“Globally, fast fashion is getting faster. The consumer mindset is shifting, driven by social media, to a ‘buy now, wear now’ mentality. We have responded accordingly by improving our buying processes, working to achieve a faster supply chain, tightening our stock control and strengthening our buying and design teams to deliver a stronger product proposition.
“We are clear on the actions needed to capture customer spend, but these will take time to implement. While we expect 2017 to be tough and are setting our plans accordingly, we strongly believe in our ability to continue to execute our strategy.”
The retailer said it had delivered positive like-for-like sales in China, where it now operates more than 100 stores, despite challenging market conditions.