UK value fashion retailer New Look has had a strong start to trading in the first quarter of FY22, thanks to the reopening of its stores. The company reported total revenue of £194.4m ($267.6m) for the 13-week period ending on June 26, representing a significant increase of 181.7% compared to the same period last year. New Look’s own e-commerce sales also saw growth, with a year-on-year increase of 3.8% and a 43.3% increase compared to two years ago. Additionally, adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was £15m, a substantial improvement from the £16m loss in the previous year.

The strong performance can be attributed to improved conversion rates and reduced markdown activity, indicating that customers are responding well to the brand across different channels. Despite facing significant challenges in the previous year, such as the impact of Covid-19 and store closures, New Look has managed to rebound effectively. The company underwent a Company Voluntary Arrangement and financial recapitalisation to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. This resulted in a decline in revenue from £912.8m to £542.2m. However, New Look saw considerable online sales growth of 69%, attracting over 225 million visits from customers in 66 countries. Adjusted EBITDA dropped to £4.3m, but there was a significant improvement in statutory profit before tax, which increased to £108m from a loss before tax of £430.7m, primarily due to intangible impairment reversals following the CVA.

During the year to March 27, New Look secured the number one position for overall womenswear market share in the 18 to 44 age range, according to Kantar Worldpanel. The CEO, Nigel Oddy, expressed delight at the strong sales growth witnessed after the reopening of stores in April 2021. Lower footfall was offset by improved conversion rates, contributing to profitability. Oddy attributed the positive response to the brand’s spring/summer ranges, particularly in dresses and sandals. Online sales also continued to perform well, experiencing year-on-year growth since the reopening of physical stores.

New Look believes that its financial results from the previous year do not accurately reflect the current state of the business. The successful recapitalisation and CVA have provided the company with a stronger foundation for future growth. The brand is optimistic about its prospects, as customers are showing positive engagement and satisfaction both in stores and online. The strong recovery witnessed in the first quarter of FY22 indicates a promising trajectory for New Look as it navigates the evolving retail landscape.

Useful links:
New Look Official Website
BBC Article on New Look’s Financial Results