has reported a 30% jump in ecommerce sales as the retailer continues its international online expansion. The company started to trade on the T-mall marketplace in China during the first half of its financial year, it reported today, when it also said improvements to its mobile platform had also driven multichannel improvement.
But while the company is also launching in Poland and Germany, it has moved out of the Russian and Ukrainian markets because of what it described in its half-year statement as "political uncertainty".
The update came as New Look said reported pre-tax profits of £26.1m in the six months to September 27, up by 89.1% compared to the same time last year on revenue of £788.6m, 5.6% up. New Look's UK like-for-like sales were 6.9% ahead of last time, while New Look ecommerce sales grew by 36.4%, or 30.3% when only sales made over its own website were taken into account – the trader sells through ten third-party ecommerce partners.
Anders Kristiansen , chief executive, said the retailer's international expansion was making "good progress" despite the withdrawal from Russia and Ukraine during the first half. "We have made good progress both internationally and in terms of developing our ecommerce proposition," he said. "We have increased our presence in China, both in store and online, expanded our Polish business, launched French and German versions of our website and continued to make improvements to our online user experience.
“We are continuing to deliver on our strategic goals we outlined nearly two years ago, and we are well prepared for the Christmas trading period.”
Such international expansion, he said, would help make the vagaries of the UK weather, which many retailers have recently blamed for hitting sales and profits, less of a concern. “There has been a great deal of commentary about the warm weather affecting UK high street sales and we are no different, but it is testament to the agility and responsiveness of our business, and appeal of our product that we maintained our strong gross margin in the period," said Kristiansen. "Our continued focus on international expansion will help us to reduce our exposure to the UK weather in the longer term."