LONDON Feb 11 British fashion retailer New Look
said it did not plan to list the business on a stock market in
the foreseeable future, after heavy discounting by rivals wiped
out strong online sales at Christmas.
The group, owned by private equity firms Apax and
Permira, and founder Tom Singh, said it needed to strengthen the
business across several fronts including online and abroad
before it could consider a market listing.
Though official UK retail data shows the sector recorded its
fastest annual sales growth in more than nine years in December,
Christmas trading updates from major store groups showed clear
winners and losers.
New Look, which trades from 1,104 stores worldwide after
opening its first store in Britain in 1969, said it had been
unable to sell warmer clothes in its financial third quarter to
the end of December because of unseasonably mild weather at the
start of the period.
In the run-up to Christmas it was also hit by the fierce
discounting across the British high street. A more than 50
percent increased in online sales helped it to post flat core
earnings in the quarter.
"We don't have any imminent plans," Chief Executive Anders
Kristiansen told reporters when asked whether he planned to join
companies that are listing their businesses in Britain.
"We believe very much (that we need to) deliver a solid
business and doing just that takes time. We want to demonstrate
that we have got an international business and we want to get
started in China, in Russia, take over our Polish business and
get into Germany with our own website.
"Once we have got all of that then it is worth contemplating
but it is not happening in the foreseeable future. We need a
much more solid business, that we can believe can deliver
quarter after quarter."
In the 13 weeks to the end of December, adjusted core
earnings were flat at 83.3 million pounds ($136.6 million), and
up 9.9 percent over the nine-month period.
New Look said it was optimistic about the year ahead and had
started January well. That fits with a monthly industry survey
released on Tuesday, showing British retail sales rebounding
last month to record their strongest annual growth since April
The group added that it was on track to open its first
stores in Shanghai and Beijing in Spring 2014.