Fashion retailer New Look beats expectations as it plans to sell French unit

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FASHION retailer New Look has received an offer for its loss-making French unit Mim and is confident a deal will be struck.

The firm, owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, also said its first-quarter sales and earnings exceeded its own expectations as it tapped into key summer fashion trends such as Kimonos, printed trousers and running shorts.

Chief executive Anders Kristiansen declined to name the suitor for the Mim business, which has more than 350 stores, but told reporters it was an Asian group that already operates in Europe, though not in retail.

“We’re making good progress, I think it will happen,” he said, declining to say what the non-binding offer is worth.

New Look, which goes up against Primark and Next in a fiercely competitive British fashion retail market, had said in June it could sell Mim as France is not a country it plans to focus on. Its strategy is to focus on building and developing the New Look brand in Britain, online and internationally in four countries - China, Poland, Russia and Germany.

The group said revenue rose 8.1 per cent to £392.5m in the 13 weeks to June 28, with sales at stores open over a year up 8.9 per cent. UK like-for-like sales rose 11.6 per cent, while e-commerce sales jumped 39.2 per cent. New Look said underlying earnings rose 18.8 per cent to £59.4m.

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