New Look posts full year loss after difficult year
In the 52 weeks to 24 March the company made an underlying operating loss of £74.3 million after revenue fell by 7.3% to £1.34 billion.
New Look brand like-for-like sales declined by 11.4% while UK like-for-like sales fell by 11.7%
Meanwhile, sales on New Look’s own website dropped by 19.2% although third party ecommerce sales increased by 15.5%.
Alistair McGeorge, New Look executive chairman, said: “Last year was undoubtedly very difficult for New Look, with a well-documented combination of external and self-inflicted issues impacting our performance.”
The company said it is making significant progress towards achieving financial and operational stability in the current financial year. Initiatives have included returning to a value-led fast fashion and wardrobe basics offer with a full price focus and lowering its prices to give customers better value.
George explained: “Since November, we have focused on making the necessary changes to get the company back on track and reconnect with our customers. Our turnaround plan is now well underway, and we have already made substantial operational improvements to help stabilise the business, reduce our fixed cost base and put us in a better position to drive future full price sales.
“We have started the new financial year with a much cleaner stock position and are now seeing green shoots emerge.”
In March New Look gained approval for a Company Voluntary Agreement. Under the terms of the CVA, the retailer has identified 60 of its 593 stores for potential closure as well as an additional six sites which are sub-let to third parties.
Looking at the current position, New Look said its liquidity position is continuing to improve and that early first quarter trading has revealed improvements in some womenswear areas.
George added: “We still have more work to do to restore long-term profitability, but I am confident we are now better placed to achieve this than we were when I returned to the business over six months ago. Trading conditions will remain tough in the year ahead, but further operational efficiencies and a resolute focus on our core strengths and heartland customer will help to ensure we remain on the right track.”
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