New Look will shut its Polish operations as part of its management team’s bid to turn the business around.
It filed for insolvency on Monday and will now close 19 stores across the country, having “not achieved the necessary profitability to continue its ongoing operations on a standalone basis”.
The retailer has been reviewing the future of its international markets. It exited China in December, closing 120 stores across the country, and reported at the beginning of the year that it would leave the Belgian market. The review is ongoing.
The withdrawals are part of a planned review of non-core international markets led by executive chair Alistair McGeorge, who is attempting to reposition the business.
McGeorge’s turnaround strategy appears to be bearing fruit. New Look registered an increase in sales during the crucial Christmas quarter.
Like-for-likes in its core UK business advanced 0.9%, in contrast to its financial year to date, during which New Look brand like-for-likes fell 2.3%, though that was an improvement on the 10.7% slump it experienced during the same period the previous year.
Group adjusted EBITDA during the period jumped 78% to £78m, despite a 5% slip in revenues to just over £1bn.
Underlying operating profit came in at £38.5m, compared to a £5.1m loss in the first three quarters of its 2017/18 financial year.
New Look said the performance was “in line with expectations” as it ramps up its cost-saving drive and focuses on driving “more profitable” sales.
In January, the business revealed it had agreed terms on a debt-for-equity swap that would slash long-term debt from £1.35bn to £350m.