New Look’s underlying operating profits tumbled 44% to £97.6m in the 52 weeks to 25 March 2017 as the retailer vowed to be faster on delivering trends and reduce its reliance on discounting.
UK like-for-like sales slipped 6.8% and revenue was also down, falling 2.4% from £1.49bn in 2016 to £1.45bn.
Adjusted EBITDA fell 31.8% to £155m due to poor sales performance and investment in “strategic initiatives”.
However online sales fared better with own website sales rising by 14% during the period and third party ecommerce sales were up 31%.
Chief executive Anders Kristiansen said the business expects the retail environment to remain challenging into the next financial year and has “set its plans accordingly.”
“The retail environment is now more competitive than ever. We have seen a growing shift in customer mind set during the year to a ‘buy now, wear now’ mentality, which challenges us to be even faster in identifying and responding to trends, buying with more conviction and becoming ever more agile. We’ve responded by improving our buying processes, working to achieve an even faster supply chain and strengthening our buying and design teams to make sure we deliver a stronger product proposition.”
He added: “Our industry continues to evolve; immediacy and convenience matter more than ever before in the search for great fashion. Our customers need to be absolutely clear what we stand for and to feel inspired by what we do. We are renewing our determination to offer even more compelling lead-in entry prices across our ranges. By being faster on the latest trends and acting with added conviction, we will reduce reliance on promotions and discounting.”
New Look expanded its Chinese store estate to 110 stores from 85 and extended its standalone menswear offer to 21 stores during the period. It currently operates 872 stores worldwide, 592 in the UK and 280 internationally.
It also launched dedicated local language transactional websites for France and Germany during the year and plans to move its UK website to the same platform during the current financial year.