New Look reports record sales

UK fashion retailer New Look, backed by private equity firms Apax Partner and Permira, has dropped five of its senior directors, while founder Tom Singh is to take on to a non-executive role.

Private equity-backed UK clothing retailer New Look has culled five of its senior management as it reported underlying profits rose by 9 percent in its annual trading statement.
New Look has let go of buying directors Alan Wood, formerly the brother-in-law of founder Thomas Singh, and Nikki Garman, marketing director Hash Ladha, property director Paul Hitchcott and Pierre Gallard, merchandising director for New Look’s French division.

A spokesperson for New Look said that, following a restructuring after the company’s take-private, a number of processes had been completed and there was less of a need for the directors’ roles going forward.
The announcement came as the clothing retailer reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £174.1 million (€254 million; $327 million) for the year ended March 31 2005, up nine percent from £159.7 million for the previous year. Group sales also grew by six percent to a record £862.2 million in the fiscal year to March 31 2005.
New Look also announced that Singh will step down from his position of director to become a non-executive director.

According to a report in UK national newspaper The Times, New Look plans to expand its internet and international sales as part of its restructuring drive, and will open more stores in Belgium and France, as well as its first franchise outlet in the Middle East, later this year.
London-based private equity firms Apax Partners and Permira acquired New Look in a £699 million public-to-private buyout in February 2004. A £750 million refinancing, led by Citigroup, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland, was carried out in May 2005.