Women's fashion chain New Look on Tuesday posted a 65.5 per cent surge in first half pre-tax profit to £44.9 million from £27.3m in the year-ago period on the back on strong sales and said that trend was continuing into the second half.

The operator of about 500 stores said its profit jump was in line with forecasts with sales up 14 per cent to £315m and UK same-store sales up 8.7 per cent in the six months to September 28, and 11.4 per cent in the first eight weeks after that date.
 
The retailer had said in a news release last month that first half profits would be at least £44m due to strong sales.

Chief executive Stephen Sunnucks attributed the growth to a recent makeover which has seen it target bigger stores, increase its product range and refurbish smaller outlets to keep boosting sales.

"We have successfully repositioned New Look at the forefront of value fashion, which is the fastest growing sector of the UK clothing market," he said.

Despite the strong results, shares in New Look slipped later in the day after the founder's family sold five per cent of the chain's stock in order to "diversify their investments".