has reported record results for the year to 28 March 2009, with sales up 13.1% and profits up 8.5% to £217.6m.
The fashion retailer's annual report provides substantial information on the success of its online operations, too, with visitor numbers up by 156% on a year ago to an average of nearly one million a week.
Significant investment in the development of a multi-channel strategy is now set to follow, with its new ATG-powered website due to roll out later this year along with the installation of new tills that will allow customers to order goods in-store for home delivery.
A new international website is also to be launched, allowing customers to shop from mainland Europe. Overall, the annual report explains, New Look is aiming to capture a 13% share of the online clothing market by 2012, up from its current 4% share:
Customers are increasingly turning to the internet for their shopping and as with most other categories, the online share of the UK clothing market is forecast to rise significantly over the next five years. New Look's first full year of eCommerce trading has seen success ahead of our expectation and we now plan to move forward with a fully integrated multichannel business — effectively making our full product range available in all our stores.
We aim for eCommerce to deliver enhanced access to New Look, a satisfying customer experience, and an additional revenue stream for the Group. We've already driven our online growth by attracting more customers to our website and increasing their willingness to spend online through launching new categories such as Maternity, Tall and Menswear, alongside our core Womenswear online offering.
Key to future growth is the delivery of a multi-channel proposition, facilitated by investment in a new web platform, enhancement of our EPOS system and realignment of our operating model. This will require capital investment of around £12.4m over 2 years, but will pay back in the same period.