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Strong trading softens New Look’s debt costs

New Look’s pre-tax profit jumped 40.6% to £39.5m for the 26 weeks to September 26, as its revenues rose 5.9% to £756m. UK like-for-likes were up 4.7%.

New Look menswear autumn 15

New Look menswear autumn 15

New Look menswear autumn 15

The retailer, which has more than 800 stores worldwide including 571 in the UK, said it had benefited from “more normalised weather conditions compared to last year”.

However, it made a statutory pre-tax loss of £53.7m as a result of costs from debt repayments and refinancing following its sale to South African billionaire Christo Wiese in May.

New Look incurred costs of £93.2m relating to the acquisition, but said its new debt structure resulted in annualised interest savings of more than £30m.

EBITDA climbed 5.1% to £121.7m and underlying operating profit grew 10.9% to £94.8m.

New Look said its first standalone menswear stores, launched from September onwards, are performing well.

It ended the period with 52 stores in China, with leases signed to increase this to 85 by March 2016.

Chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “Against an unpredictable consumer backdrop, we are especially pleased to have seen further Q2 sales improvement and market share growth, on what were already strong Q1 figures.

“We have also seen a positive reaction to our autumn/winter collection and we have been delighted with the initial performance of our men’s standalone stores.

“With the support of our new owners, Brait, we are planning to increase investment in our strategic initiatives to accelerate our growth.

“As for current trading, the sector has benefited from the return to more normalised weather conditions compared to last year. We continue to manage the business prudently, but the positive reaction to our current product offer gives us confidence as we head into Christmas.” 

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