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Financial Highlights - Group Sales +2.5% to £1.48bn Group like-for-likes -0.7% (H1 -3.3%; H2 +1.7%) UK like-for-likes -0.5%, (H1 -3.1%; H2 +2.0%) New Look Europe like-for-likes +3.2% Online sales +50.1% - Group adjusted EBITDA + 29% to £189.2m - Underlying operating profit + 84.2% to £115.5m - Profit before tax of £3.1m (2012: -£54.5m) - Free cash flow +9.9% to £88.6m - Gross margin +2 percentage points driven by tighter stock controls and lower markdowns - Successful refinancing extends maturities to 2018, improves capital structure and reduces PIK by 50%. Net debt of £1.1bn
Operational & Development Overview:
-Three point turnaround plan of cost savings, profit margin improvement and revenue growth is delivering real results Success of multi-channel strategy: - 2.5 million visits per week to newlook.com - All e-commerce orders now fulfilled within our Lymedale distribution centre - Investment into business made from cost savings across New Look, including roll out of Click & Collect, Order-In-Store and improvements to our online channel - 145 stores now in the new “Concept” format. Remaining stores to be refurbished over 3 year timeframe - Greater flexibility within our supply chain resulted in shortened lead times and a 16% reduction in total markdown and discount. Full price sales mix up 3.3 percentage points - Maintained and extended market share in key categories: denim, dresses, knitwear and footwear - Positive momentum in our International business. Appointment of China management team complete, developing plans to open our first Chinese store in March 2014
Current Trading and Outlook
Looking ahead we expect the economic outlook to remain challenging. However, we are confident in our ability to maintain the positive momentum generated by the improved value and appeal of our ranges, our store refurbishment programme and continued growth in e-commerce.
Alistair McGeorge, Chairman, said:
“I am delighted to report that our three-point turnaround plan of cost savings, margin improvement and revenue growth enabled us to deliver strong results and continue to re-invest in our business. The strength of our financial turnaround has also enabled us to address our capital structure, with the successful refinancing of our debt, extending maturities to 2018.
"This gives the business a five year runway for Anders and his team to continue to improve performance, drive forward our international expansion and develop further our online and store development. Our long term goal remains the same: to de-lever the business through profit growth and strong cashflow.”
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Letter to Editor
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