New Look is ready to consider an initial public offering as it gears up to open in excess of 50 stores in China over the next 14 months.
The group’s CEO, Anders Kristiansen, said the company has shown that it can perform well even during tough periods, so the general feeling is that the business is ready. The timing of an IPO will be at the discretion of the private-equity backers of New Look, Permira and Apax.
New Look has reported a decline of 1.6% in revenues for the quarter ended 27 December, with an increase in operating profits of 1.8%.
According to Kristiansen, the firm saw a rise in sales during December, which offset its poor performance in the two previous months. With the exclusion of store closures and openings, the company’s sales declined by 1%, even though online sales saw an increase of 33%.
Kristiansen said January sales were doing well, mainly because the colder weather in Britain has aided in clearing some of the leftover winter clothes. New Look is not betting on an increase in fashion spends, but they believe that low-interest rates and lower fuel prices have aided their sales figures.
The fashion chain is due to open around 60 stores during the next year. It is planning to open five more stores in Poland, in addition to the 11 it already has in the country. The company has 18 stores in China and this is where its main growth will be focused during this year.
However, New Look closed its stores in Russia last year, due to the crisis in the Ukraine. It also disposed of the French fashion chain, Mim, after several years of inadequate performance.
New Look has no plans to increase the number of UK outlets, but is rather considering relocation of around five stores to more suitable sites.