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New Look can leverage strong online offer to aid recovery says WGSN Barometer

Lauretta Roberts
17 August 2017

High street giant New Look can leverage its strong online presence to turn around its fortunes, according to a new report from WGSN's brand tracking tool Barometer.

New Look scores more highly than online rival Boohoo in terms of preference for its online offer among young consumers with, the brand tracker reveals, with 56% of 16-24 year olds stating a preference for shopping at New Look versus 33% at Boohoo.

This preference can be capitalised upon to help New Look turn around its financial performance. The retailer recently reported that Q1 trading had been difficult with sales dropping by -4.4% to £338.7m while underlying operating profits were down a hefty -60.3% at £12.1m.

WGSN head of retail and product analysis Francesca Muston said online only players had made the market "a fiercely competitive place to play" and that "established bricks and mortar cohort need to adapt, and fast.”

However, Muston added that physical stores do give New Look an edge over rivals. “This is undoubtedly the halo effect of their bricks and mortar stores driving brand awareness and proving online agility isn’t everything,” she said.

Of all 130 brands tracked by Barometer in the UK, New Look over-indexes on all online satisfaction attributes, driven by factors such as products meeting customer expectations and good website navigation. Brand preference is second only to Primark in the womenswear category, buoyed by young consumers aged 16-24.

New Look, however, did need to work on "distinctiveness" which was one of the areas in which it did lag behind its competitors. “In the current challenging, discount-heavy retail market, creating differentiation will be pivotal for the New Look’s long-term survival,” said Muston.

The retailer recently announced that new creative director Paula Dumont Lopez, formerly of Esprit and Zara, would be joining the business this autumn.

Launched in March if this year, WGSN Barometer tracks the daily performance of more than 250 womenswear retail brands for strategists and executives by surveying more than 120,000 consumers yearly.

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