Fashion chain New Look, which went private less than a year ago, has recorded an 18.8 per cent hike in UK sales for the 14 weeks to 1 January due to transformations in its distribution network and design team.


Same-store sales rose 11.6 per cent for the chain, which is currently the UK's fourth-largest ladies' wear retailer.

The company has made several changes over the past nine months, such as doubling its number of designers for new ranges to 22, and enhancing its buying and merchandising team.

The company said that strong demand for denim and fake fur had pushed up its sales figures in the past few months.

Chief executive Phil Wrigley said: "I am extremely pleased with our first steps in transforming the business. Our customers have taken to our initiatives well and our results reflect the strong progress we have made."

Wrigley added that the company aimed to further strengthen its brand and increase the scale of the business throughout 2005.

Weymouth-based New Look has over 500 stores throughout the UK as well as 200 sites in France.

The company plans to extend its men's wear range from 14 to 30 stores and to expand its ranges for younger ages to include children under nine.