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New Look secures eight leases as it launches in China

New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen is to press on with his international strategy as he takes full control of the company, with leases signed to enter eight shopping malls in China next spring.

New Look executive chairman Alistair McGeorge stepped into a non-executive chairmanship this week after two-and-a-half years at the helm.

It leaves Kristiansen, who joined in January from Danish brand house Bestseller, in full control of the business.

Kristiansen has made no secret of his plans for international expansion and is kicking this off next March with New Look’s first store openings in China, in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Wuhan and Tianjin.

He aims to open 20 in the year to March 2015, with plans for “hundreds” in China over the next few years.

Kristiansen told Drapers: “We want to forge ahead with our international plans and so we have signed these leases with some of the best shopping malls in China.

“We have some other interesting plans in Europe that will materialise pretty soon,” he added.

Russia is also on the agenda, although Kristiansen declined to comment on New Look’s progress with its plans.

Kristiansen joined New Look in January. At Bestseller he was vice chief executive of the group’s 5,500-store Chinese business.

Since Kristiansen’s arrival in January, New Look has managed to refinance its hefty debt through an £800m bond issue, which has given the company until 2018 to repay or refinance again.

Kristiansen said this had given New Look “added capacity” to execute its new strategy.

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