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New Look profits climb 17.7%

New Look has reported strong growth in sales and profits for its full year to March 27 with underlying operating profits for the fashion group ahead 17.7% to £163m.

Total sales grew 10.7% for the year to £1.5bn with group like-for-like sales up 1.2%.

Like-for-like sales for the UK stayed strong up 5% but market conditions in France and Ireland hit international sales which dropped 12% on a like-for-like basis. It said actions were “being taken” to address the market conditions in the more difficult markets.

Over the year New Look opened 61 new stores, including 16 in the UK, and increased market share to 5.2% from 4.7% according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel Fashion.

It also moved from the UK’s fifth biggest online fashion retailer in the UK to number three with a 4.1% market share after upgrading its ecommerce offer. It now receives two million hits a week from customers and took 1.3 million orders online last year.

New Look chief executive Carl McPhail said: “New Look has delivered outstanding results in its 40th year in spite of the challenging trading environment. These results, with strong increases in underlying operating profit and cash generation, highlight the strengths of our strategy of investing in the business, opening profitable new space and tightly controlling operating costs.”

He added: “We remain confident in the fundamental value of our business and our strong future growth prospects and expect to make continued progress as we focus on driving the business at home, internationally and online.”

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