New Look operates over 800 stores across 21 countries

New Look operates over 800 stores across 21 countries

UK value fashion retailer New Look has revealed plans to expand in China as it booked an increase in earnings and sales in its last fiscal.

The retail group, which operates over 800 stores across 21 countries, said underlying earnings were up 4% to GBP212.4m in the year to 28 March thanks to the opening of 37 new outlets. Pre-tax profit jumped to GBP50.6m from GBP20.7m a year earlier.

Gross margin, however, remained broadly flat at 52.7% from 52.8% last year, whiles sales grew 3.4% to GBP1.41bn.

New Look brand like-for-like sales were up 4%, and UK like-for-like sales grew 5%. E-commerce sales saw growth of 34%.

Last month, South African investment firm Brait acquired a majority stake in New Look for GBP780m (US$1.23bn), valuing the UK value fashion retailer at GBP1.9bn.

CEO Anders Kristiansen said the group saw a "strong performance" from its first year of trading in China. The company had 19 stores trading at year end, and since opening a further 11 in April and May, now has 30 stores operating across the country with 70 planned by March 2016.

"Internationally, we are making great strides both in Europe and in China," he said. "In China, customers have responded positively to our ranges and we see the opportunity for significant growth in the country, with up to a further 50 stores due to open in the coming year."

Kristiansen said the company will continue to focus on its strategic initiatives of brand, multichannel, international expansion, product development and menswear going forward.