London - New Look’s new sponsorship agreement with London Fashion Week comes at an interesting time for the British fashion retailer, which recently revealed a 60.3 percent slump in its first quarter operating profits.

"New Look’s LFW sponsorship announcement comes at an interesting time for the brand as they refocus after disappointing financial results,” said Francesca Muston, Head of Retail & Product Analysis at WGSN to FashionUnited. “They have spoken about expanding their price architecture with a more premium product offer. The ability to sell through at those higher price points hinges on quality and brand image.”

By linking its brand image with the biannual fashion week event, New Look seems keen to bolster its brand image among customers and raise its fashion stakes at the same time. ”We know they are quite rightfully unwilling to make compromises in their supply chain to improve margins but they need to ensure they can really leverage that position on quality,” added Muston. “The LFW sponsorship offers them the ideal platform to build a premium association and bolster their brand image."

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In addition, the London Fashion Week sponsorship could help New Look strengthen its brand’s handwriting, and aid the brand in distinguishing itself among high street competitors. “In the current challenging, discount-heavy retail market, creating differentiation will be pivotal for the New Look’s long-term survival.

Another avenue which may help New Look boost its flagging profits is its strong online presence. New results from WGSN Barometer found that New Look retains its competitive edge against pure online players such as Asos and Boohoo. For example, 56 percent of 16 to 24 years olds showed a preference for shopping at New Look versus 33 percent at Boohoo.

“This is undoubtedly the halo effect of their bricks and mortar stores driving brand awareness, proving online agility isn’t everything,” added Muston. From all the 130 brands tracked by WGSN Barometer in the UK, New Look over-indexes on all online satisfaction attributes. Its strong results were driven by factors such as products meeting customer expectations and good website navigation. New Look only came second to Primark when it came to Brand preference in WGSN Barometer womenswear category.

However, its impending tie-in with LFW could help change this in the future.

 

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