Profits have slumped by over a third for fashion retailer New Look, whose CEO says “extremely challenging” conditions in the UK are holding it back, and are likely to continue.

The retailer, bought by South African investment group Brait in 2015, said pre tax profits in the three months ending just before Christmas were down by 37.6 per cent from the same spell in 2015 to £30.1m.

Group like-for-like sales were down by 7 per cent on the year and 4.6 per cent on the quarter, with slightly heavier declines for the UK.

It said it expects this bad run in the UK to persist for the current quarter and into the next financial year.

Anders Kristiansen chief executive said:

The UK market has continued to be extremely challenging, with reduced footfall and a highly promotional environment on the high street, resulting in a disappointing like-for-like sales performance. Despite this, total sales for the quarter were level as a result of good performances outside the UK, online and in Menswear, proving that our strategy of diversification is the right one for our business. It remains key to our growth to continue to diversify our offer and to invest in our priority international markets.

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