UK retailer New Look to close down 50-100 stores

27 June 2012 (Last Updated June 27th, 2012 07:00)

Fashion retailer New Look plans to shut down 50-100 stores amid its strong online business performance and tough high street conditions in the UK.

New Look, London, UK

Fashion retailer New Look plans to shut down 50-100 stores amid its strong online business performance and tough high street conditions in the UK.

The company has reported earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £147m in 2012 full-year, down from £191m in the prior year.

Group sales were down 2% to £1.5bn and like-for-like sales decreased 5.9%, while like-for-like sales in the UK, excluding VAT, declined 5.7%.

New Look said it has made considerable progress in its strategy of improving ranging, pricing and quality and broadening its appeal across the customer base.

"We continued to keep tight control of inventory and worked to improve lead times to give us greater flexibility to buy into the key seasonal trends," the company noted.

The British womenswear clothing retailer said it is improving its multi-channel offer with initiatives such as 'click and collect' and in-store online ordering.

"Our online business has performed strongly, winning market share in an increasingly competitive online market.

"At the same time, we are working on our store portfolio and have concluded that the growth of online shopping is likely to result in 50-100 fewer stores than we have today.

"However, stores will remain a vital part of our multi-channel offer and we have trialled a new store concept during the year to improve the customer shopping experience.

"Following some very encouraging results we are now planning to launch a roll out across our store estate with an initial 120 stores to be refurbished in the coming financial year."

New Look executive chairman Alistair McGeorge said, "Our long-term goal is sustainable growth and we have taken steps to address some of the issues with our capital structure."

The retailer, which sells women's clothing, footwear and accessories, operates over 1,100 stores in 16 countries worldwide.

Image: New Look head office in London, UK. Photo: New Look Retail Group Limited