Belfast Telegraph

New Look swings to loss amid torrid trading on the high street

The fashion chain has been shutting stores and slashing jobs.

Fashion chain New Look has swung to a full-year loss amid plunging sales on the high street and online.

The retailer reported an operating loss of £74.3 million for the year to March 24, having made £97.6 million profit in the previous year.

New Look’s sales in the UK fell by 11.7% on a like-for-like basis, accelerating from a decline of 6.8% the year before. Website sales slumped by 19.2%.

Total revenue was £1.34 billion, down from £1.45 billion year on year.

The business was hit with a £34.2 million one-off cost, which included an exceptional charge from stock clearances.

Alistair McGeorge, New Look’s 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.

“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.”

New Look launched a restructuring plan in March, announcing that it would shut 60 stores as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), affecting 980 jobs.

The company said on Tuesday that the CVA would allow the business to save £40 million.

The poor trading news from New Look comes after House of Fraser proposed a CVA, saying it intended to shut 31 stores, putting 6,000 jobs at risk.

Mothercare and Carpetright have also undertaken CVAs so far this year in a bid to save on costs.

Torrid trading on the high street has triggered a swathe of retail failures, with Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld all entering administration.

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