New Look hailed a “cracking start” to its latest trading period today after the heatwave provided a further sales boost following its recent return to profit.
Like other fashion retailers it suffered as a result of freezing temperatures in the spring, although like-for-like sales were still up 1% in the three months to the end of June.
But performance improved along with the weather and the glorious sunshine pulled more shoppers in as they stocked up on swimwear, summer dresses and skirts.
Chief executive Anders Kristiansen said: “Good weather brings good business to the high street. We have had a cracking start to the second quarter.”
The group saw overall like-for-like sales up by only 0.3% in the first quarter as it was held back by the disappointing performance of its Mim brand in France.
Underlying earnings for the group rose 13.1% while online takings shot up again, by 78.7%, boosted by the success of New Look’s click-and-collect offering.
The chain’s website lures shoppers in with a “steal their style” offer and pictures of trend-setting stars including Rihanna and Jessica Alba.
Its clothes are endorsed by Kelly Brook but Mr Kristiansen signalled that there were no plans to pursue major celebrity collaborations in the future.
He said: “We believe very much it is the product that has to sell. It is about having the latest trend and the right quality rather than having a celebrity campaign.”
The group has more than 1,100 stores worldwide including around 600 in the UK, while it has more than 2.5 million visits a week to its website. Further international expansion is planned in India and China.
New Look announced in June that it had clawed its way back to annual profits of £3.1m against losses of £54.5m a year earlier, while it has also been refurbishing stores as part of its turnaround plan.
Finance chief Alastair Miller said the coldest spring for 50 years in the early part of the first quarter had hampered sales.
He said: “April was a very difficult period for all retailers. We did have a more difficult start to the season. I am pleased to say that once the weather started to normalise so did our sales pick up.”
In today’s trading update, the company said it had a strong start to the second quarter with a higher proportion of full-price sales and a reduced number of markdowns, though it remained cautious for the outlook for consumer spending.