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Multichannel measures help New Look to record Christmas, but warm autumn holds third-quarter sales back

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Growing customer demand for multichannel shopping services, from click and collect to mobile ordering, helped New Look to a record Christmas. The warm autumn meant overall third quarter sales were down but profits grew by more than a quarter, the fashion retailer said today.

New Look today reported ecommerce growth of 28.6% – with own website sales up by 25.2% – in the third quarter of its financial year, compared to the same time last year, boosted by a surge in demand for click and collect and mobile and tablet ordering that overtook desktop sales on Boxing Day. Overall revenue of £399.9m in the three months to December 27 was down by 1.6% on the same period last year, after an unseasonably warm October and November, but pre-tax profits of £35.2m were 28% up on last time.

In the year to the end of the third quarter, revenue of £1.1bn was 2.9% up on the same time last year, while pre-tax profits of £63.3m were 29.2% ahead of last time.

“It was a record online sales performance over the Christmas period with all channels well prepared for peaks in demand around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day,” said chief executive Anders Kristiansen. “Mobile and tablet ordering overtook desktop for the first time on Boxing Day, whilst our high street presence came into its own as we handled a surge in demand for our click and collect and order in store offerings. Operationally, we performed well. We were able to extend final delivery dates before Christmas and we dispatched 60% more orders across the three weeks over Christmas than last year. Despite the heavily promotional environment, we maintained the level of full price sales on last year and grew gross profit margin.”

Kristiansen also outlined the scale of New Look’s international expansion. The retailer now has 18 stores in China, where it is on target to have 20 by the end of the year. It also recently opened stores in France, Germany and Poland.

Looking beyond the third quarter, the company said “more seasonal” January weather had helped clear winter lines. “As a group we remain well positioned as we continue to deliver against our strategic initiatives of brand, global expansion, multichannel, menswear and product development,” said the statement.

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