CEO Anders Kristiansen said New Look remains committed to its long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing its dependence on the UK high street

CEO Anders Kristiansen said New Look remains committed to its long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing its dependence on the UK high street

New Look said, as expected, the UK market remained "difficult" in the first quarter, resulting in a "disappointing" period of trading that saw the UK fashion retailer move to a loss. 

For the 13 weeks ended 24 June, the company's loss after tax reached GBP15.2m (US$19.8m), compared to earnings of GBP5.8m last year, while underlying operating profit plunged by 60.3% to GBP12.1m.

Group like-for-like sales were down 8.2% in the quarter, while UK like-for-like sales dropped 7.5%. Net sales also slipped, falling 4.4% to GBP338.7m.

Own website sales for the period dropped 0.6%, while third-party e-commerce sales jumped 15.7%.

CEO Anders Kristiansen cited tough conditions on the high street for the "disappointing" quarter of trading, but said the retailer remains committed to its long-term strategy of diversifying the business and reducing its dependence on the UK high street.

"[We] are confident that we will see improvements, but expect these to take time," he said.

Meanwhile, the evolution of New Look's product proposition continues, bolstered by the imminent arrival of new chief creative officer, Paula Dumont Lopez, in September.

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Kristiansen added the retailer is "pleased" with its continued expansion in China, where it opened another 17 stores, taking the total number to 127, and added he is encouraged by the trials of its new store concept in the UK.

"Looking ahead, we expect the consumer economy to remain fragile and challenging market conditions to persist into 2018," he said. "We will continue to manage our business prudently and focus on providing our customers with exceptional product and real value for money."

Kate Ormrod, senior retail analyst at GlobalData says New Look has continued its run of poor form with product not hitting the mark, and that the arrival of Dumont Lopez in September is "much needed".

However, she adds it will take time for Dumont Lopez's influence to take effect, noting concern about just how far the retailer's performance could slip before it recoups its destination appeal.

"Showcasing the value in its full price proposition by not heavily relying on promotional activity is essential to weather the storm in the meantime."