New Look executive chairman Alistair McGeorge hit out at critics of the business, insisting that his turnaround strategy will work.
“Don’t be in any doubt we can make necessary changes to get this brand back to its broad appeal and restore operational stability to this business,” he told Retail Week following dismal financial results.
New Look racked up pre-tax losses of £123.5m in the 39 weeks to December 23. Group revenue fell 6.3%, led by a 10.7% slump in UK like-for-likes.
Group like-for-likes declined 10.6% and online sales plummeted 15%.
New Look did not split out third-quarter results but the picture has clearly worsened from the first half, when UK like-for-likes dropped 8.4%.
McGeorge denied that a rumoured CVA was imminent, saying that the procedure was “one of a number of options” being considered by the business in addition to informal talks with landlords.
He maintained that, of almost 600 UK stores, just “a couple of handfuls” were unprofitable. He added that, including those “handfuls”, 10% of its estate could be called “marginally profitable”.
New Look has identified £25m of cost savings which it can make over its next financial year. That £25m will mainly be comprised of finding efficiencies in marketing, operations and rationalising the number of suppliers, although “every area of costs will get looked into”.
MGeorge said that, while there would “always be people coming and going”, he had no plans to “carry out any form of redundancy campaign”.
The retailer shed nearly 400 store management roles last autumn.