New Look will open its first German store this autumn following a period of strong international growth, chief executive Anders Kristiansen told Drapers today.
Its first wholly-owned German store will open in October, in “one of the most important shopping centres” in the country, Kristiansen told Drapers, although he would not say which one.
“We will be rolling out stores there,” he confirmed.
New Look already has concessions in Berlin and Hamburg.
The German stores will add to its growing international portfolio, which includes wholly owned stores in the Republic of Ireland, France, Belgium, Poland and China, as well as franchise stores in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The retailer’s underlying profit for the year to March 26 jumped 14% to £174.7m, as sales increased 5.4% to £1.5bn, thanks in part to an aggressive rollout in China.
During the financial year the business opened 66 stores in China and has since opened a further seven, taking the total to 92. It plans to open a further 50 shops in the region over the next year.
Kristiansen said New Look has succeeded where others have failed in China because it invested up front.
“We didn’t just go in there with just two shops and five members of staff, we went big with infrastructure. We had teams in place to find the right stores and to create the right product,” he said.
“Our stores are profitable over there and our real estate deals are better than ever. We’re very pleased with our like-for-like growth in China, but there is still more work to do.”
In April Asos decided to discontinue its local operations in China, at the cost of £10m and 60 job losses. The etailer had struggled with restrictions on the clothing trade in China which meant it was slow to introduce new brands to complement its own-label ranges.
In the UK, Kristiansen said he expected trade this year to be “challenging” but he remains confident in the retailer’s strategy.
“I have been in retail for a long time and there are always good times and bad times but it’s about you and your shareholders believing in your strategy. Our shareholders look at the long term and the fact that we are creating a real brand,” he said.
“There will always be periods that aren’t as good as we would like and with everything happening this year you have to have a strong strategy in place, which I believe we do.”