VALUE fashion chain New Look returned to annual profits growth thanks to turnaround efforts and a surge in online sales.
The retailer, which has around 600 stores across the UK, clawed its way out of the red with annual pre-tax profits of £3.1m against losses of £54.5m a year earlier despite tough high street trading.
Online sales leapt 50.1% higher after a concerted push for its internet offering, rolling out a click and collect and order-in-store service. The group now has 2.5m visits a week to its site.
Its stores suffered a more difficult year after sales slumped 3.1% in the first half, leaving overall UK comparable sales 0.5% lower in the year to March 30.
But it said trade recovered in the second half, with like-for-like sales up 2% in the final six months.
Britain's coldest spring in 50 years presented a challenge to trading since the year-end, but New Look said it had maintained profits growth.
The group also hailed a refinancing of its £1.1bn debt mountain, which has put the group on a firmer footing.