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New Look Xmas drives like-for-like profit

New Look’s like-for-like gross profit rose 4.2% but like-for-like sales fell 3.4% at the retailer over the 15 weeks to January 5.

New Look said it has pursued a profit over sales strategy to maximise performance ahead of an anticipated slowdown in consumer spending in the run up to Christmas. The retailer said it had controlled stocks tightly to reduce markdowns and added that gross margin was up 400 basis points against the same period the previous year. New Look added that margin improvement had directly benefited profitability and that EBITDA for the full year would be ahead of last year’s figure, which came in at about £176.6 million.

Total sales grew by 9.7% for the 15 week period, largely boosted by the retailer’s expansion and increased square footage.

Sales of denim, knitwear and outerwear were key drivers over Christmas, while menswear and kidswear put in “good performances”.

New Look chief executive Phil Wrigley said: “We are pleased with performance of New Look over the Christmas period. While we expect the consumer environment to remain challenging in 2008, we are confident that New Look will continue to gain market share and deliver further revenue and profits growth.”

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