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Local jobs unaffected as shake-up sees New Look close 60 stores

By Emma Deighan

Northern Ireland New Look employees have escaped redundancies as the high street fashion retailer announces that it will shut 60 UK stores in an "estate reduction" exercise.

The chain, which has around 30 stores here, instigated a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and is seeking approval from creditors on a plan to improve its performance.

Under the proposal New Look identified 60 out of its total of 593 stores for closure, alongside a further six sites which are sub-let to third parties.

The proposal includes a reduction in rental costs and revised lease terms across 393 of the outlets.

It is expected that around 980 of 15,300 staff will lose their jobs.

The retailer said that "all efforts will be made to redeploy colleagues within the business where possible".

It is seeking creditor approval on the proposal, which is due on March 21.

All stores will remain open as normal during the period of the proposal and the company's online sales channel will be unaffected by the proposed changes.

Daniel Butters and Neville Kahn of Deloitte LLP, the business advisory firm, have been appointed as nominees to the CVA.

Alistair McGeorge, executive chairman of New Look, said: "Given our challenged trading performance and over-rented UK store estate, we are having to take tough but necessary actions to reduce our fixed cost base and restore long-term profitability.

"We have held constructive discussions with our key landlords and strategic partners and will now seek creditor approval on our CVA proposal.

"A priority for us is to keep all potentially affected colleagues informed during this difficult time."

Mr Butters said: "The retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging, driven by weaker consumer confidence, the implications of Brexit and competition from online channels.

"The CVA will provide a stable platform upon which management's turnaround plan can be delivered."

Belfast Telegraph

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