Move over, pool sliders: it turns out kimonos are the surprise hit of the summer. Maybe it's because it's been warm enough to make them a pleasing evening cover-up, or maybe the nation's women have got a taste for the oriental - either way, figures by retailer New Look published this morning showed it sold 40,000 kimonos a week during its first quarter. That's 5,700 a day. That's one every five seconds.
No wonder group revenue rose 8.1% to £392.5m, while group like-for-like sales rose 8.9%. Underlying operating profit rose 28.4% to £43.6m, while online sales rose 39.2% (28% on its own website - New Look is also sold through Asos).
Anders Kristiansen, its chief exec, said much of the rise was down to 'key trends' like kimonos and this summer's other Big Thing, the printed trouser (wear both together for ultimate 'just returned from my gap yah' chic), as well as the good weather.
Because of its successes, Kristiansen added the retailer has 'maximised full price sales' - ie. didn't have to engage in the obligatory round of early summer price-cutting that plagues so many retailers at this time of year.
New Look's French business, Mim, was only mentioned in passing: back in June it said it was planning to sell the company, taking a £64.2m charge in the process. Today it said it had received an 'indicative offer', but didn't go any further. At least if the deal falls through, New Look can just whack a load of kimonos onto Mim's shelves. It'll be back in profit in no time.