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New Look reports online growth as consumers demand to ‘buy now, wear now’ – but overall falling sales

New Look reports online growth as consumers demand to 'buy now

New Look this week reported a downturn in its overall sales despite healthy growth online as shoppers demand to “buy now, wear now”.

The fast fashion retailer reported sales of £1.4bn in the year to March 25, 2.4% down on the same time last year. It said its own brand like-for-like sales were down by 6.6%, with UK like-for-like sales down by 6.8%. Online, own website sales grew by 14.3%, while sales made through third-party websites were 30.9% ahead. At the bottom line, pre-tax losses came in at £16.6m.

Here are the multichannel highlights from its full-year figures.

The Customer

Changing shopper behaviour has made the retail environment “more competitive than ever”, according to New Look chief executive Anders Kristiansen. He said; “We have seen a growing shift in customer mindset 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.” In response, he said, the retailer had worked towards a faster supply chain and strengthened both buying and design teams to focus on “a stronger product proposition”.

He added: “Our industry continues to evolve; immediacy and convenience matter more than ever 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.” That means, he said, offering “more compelling” prices, being faster to deliver the latest trends and acting “with added conviction” to reduce reliance on promotions and discounting.”

Operations & logistics

New Look launched its members-only Delivery Pass in November 2016, giving online customers free annual delivery for a fixed fee. It said that one-third of online orders were picked up from a store using click and collect, while two-thirds of online returns were made in a store.


New Look is expanding in China, where it had 110 stores by the end of the year. It also launched dedicated local language transactional websites in France and Germany.

Strategy & Innovation

Kristiansen was clear that these were changes that affected the market more widely: he said the brand had kept its number one position in the market for women aged 35 and under, and that it was also number two in the womens’ footwear market. The retailer now plans to expand its standalone menswear stores to 21 branches.

Industry comment

Martyn Barnett, managing director at RMG Networks, said: “Whilst New Look openly recognises that the retail environment is now more competitive than ever, there is more that they, and other UK retailers, can do to keep shoppers engaged on the high street. Keeping consumers in store and buying is one of the biggest challenges retailers face.

“With consumers increasingly relying on mobile to shop and other immersive smart retail solutions, the only way forward for retailers is to treat customers in the same way whether they are mobile or on the high-street. For example, by integrating dynamic visual signs in store that are directly linked to their ecommerce sites creating integrated retail touchpoints with engaging data-informed tailored customer promotions and multiple opportunities to purchase. Promotions where consumers can simply tap their phone against displays, after seeing something they want to purchase, and receive an exclusive offer because they are in store can provide an instantaneous incentive to buy right there and then – negating the need to head to eBay searching for a cheaper alternative.

“The whole experience of shopping needs to be re-shaped and given back its appeal and magic and this can only be done by taking a holistic approach across screens, social, web and instore and creating interaction with the customer along every point of the journey, but directing them ultimately to an added value instore experience.”

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