New Look says may sell French Mim business

LONDON, June 3 Tue Jun 3, 2014 2:58am EDT

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LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - British fashion retailer New Look said it may sell its French Mim unit after the 300-store business forced it into a full-year pretax loss, overshadowing a 5.8 percent rise in underlying earnings.

The firm, owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, said on Tuesday underlying earnings increased to 200.2 million pounds ($335.5 million) in the year to March 29, up from 189.2 million pounds in 2012-13.

However, New Look made a pretax loss of 55 million pounds after booking an impairment charge of 64.2 million pounds to write down the value of Mim's net assets. In 2012-13 the group made a pretax profit of 3.1 million pounds.

New Look, which pulled a planned flotation in 2010 amid turbulent financial markets, said it was exploring strategic options for Mim, including divestment options.

The firm said its strategy is to focus on building and developing the core New Look brand in the UK, online and internationally in four key geographies - China, Poland, Russia and Germany.

New Look, trading from over 1,100 stores in 24 countries, grew annual sales 3 percent to 1.53 billion pounds, with sales at stores open over a year up 2.2 percent and e-commerce sales jumping 63.9 percent.

"I am confident that New Look is going into the new financial year in a good position to meet the challenges that lie ahead," said Chief Executive Anders Kristiansen. ($1 = 0.5968 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)

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