New Look
New Look To Exit Russia And Ukraine Amid ‘Political Uncertainty’Reuters

High street fashion retailer New Look has announced that it will be exiting markets in Russia and Ukraine because of political uncertainly in those regions - but on the plus side, the retailer reported robust results despite the warm weather.

The British chain made the announcement as part of its half year results, which seemed to unaffected by the overly clement weather woes that other high street retailers have tended to invoke.

New Look currently has 20 stores in Russia and six in Ukraine. The move is a dramatic U-turn for New Look which had previously selected the two eastern European countries, along with China, Germany and Poland, as key areas for expansion.

Despite announcing that it will leave Russia and Ukraine, New Look said its international expansion strategy is well on track and has plans in the pipeline to open a further six stores in China by the end of the year, to give it 20 outlets in the country.

New Look also mentioned its growing online presence in China established through Alibaba owned "T-mall" site - access to over 400 million enthusiastic internet shoppers.

It reported an astonishing 89% rise in first half profit to reach £26.1m and saw sales rise by 8% in the 26 weeks leading to 27 September, despite the unseasonably warm weather.

Anders Kristiansen, CEO of New Look, said: "We are very pleased with these results which show progress across all parts of the business.

"There has been a great deal of commentary about the warm weather affecting UK high street sales and we are no different, but it is testament to the agility and responsiveness of our business, and appeal of our product that we maintained our strong gross margin in the period.

"We have made good progress both internationally and in terms of developing our E-commerce proposition. We have increased our presence in China, both in store and online, expanded our Polish business, launched French and German versions of our website and continued to make improvements to our online user experience," he said.