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New Look owners slash value of stake in chain

Published 15/02/2011

Fashion chain New Look's private equity owners have slashed the value of their stake in the retail chain after tough high street conditions caused a fall in sales.

Investment group SVG Capital - an investor in New Look through buyout group Permira, which owns a 27.7% stake in the retailer - revealed it has almost halved the value of its holding in the fashion group. Full-year results from SVG showed it cut the value of its investment in New Look by 47%, to £13.5m at the end of last year from £25.7m a year earlier.

The blow comes after New Look revealed falling sales over Christmas and the January sales, with a 9.1% like-for-like drop in the UK during the 15 weeks to January 2011.

Clothing retailers were hit across the board as December's snow chaos compounded already tough consumer conditions.

SVG, which invests directly in Permira funds, said New Look suffered from the "worsening retail environment towards the end of 2010 and the adverse weather conditions during the Christmas period".

"A decline in like-for-like sales, a higher promotional mix and stock clearances have driven a decline in the company's earnings and its value has been written down by £12.2m," it added.

New Look was forced to abandon plans to float on the stock exchange this month.

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