UK Retailer New Look Mulls IPO

LONDON (Reuters) – British fashion retailer New Look is interested in returning to the London stock market, but the earliest this is likely to happen is spring 2010, a source close to the matter said on Sunday.

The source, responding to press reports that New Look might float as soon as January, said that if the current recovery in trading conditions faltered a listing would be a more distant prospect.

“It’s got to be against a robust market and we haven’t got that yet. If it (a recovery) really did continue into a new and lasting stability … New Look might be able do something in the spring at the earliest,” the source said.

The company, jointly owned by founder Tom Singh and private equity groups Apax and Permira [PERM.UL], has taken market share from rivals such as Marks & Spencer Plc (MKS.L) and Next Plc (NXT.L) during the recession as cash-strapped shoppers flock to its cheaper, fast-changing fashions.

Chairman Phil Wrigley will leave the company if a flotation takes place, the source said.

New Look declined to comment. (Reporting by Mark Potter and Matt Scuffham; Editing by David Holmes)