New Look's sales plunge on heavy discounting

 
Helen Cahill
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The retailer is trying to clear its stock before the new financial year (Source: New Look website)

New Look's sales plunged in the third quarter after the chain offered heavy discounts to shoppers.

The figures

For the 39 weeks ended 23 December, total group revenue slumped 6.3 per cent to £1.1bn. This represented a like-for-like sales fall of 10.6 per cent. Website sales plunged 15 per cent.

Read more: New Look bondholders join forces to hire advisers as retailer shuts stores

The retail chain made a loss before tax of £123.5m, and an underlying operating loss of £5.1m.

Why it's interesting

New Look brought back former chairman Alistair McGeorge in November to help turnaround the chain's rapidly declining sales. The following month, Moody's said it was "uncertain" New Look could recover its falling profitability. The ratings giant predicted that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at New Look will slump to £50m this year, down from £155m in the year before.

New Look's troubles deepened at the start of this year when it emerged credit insurers were reducing cover on goods sold to the retailer. McGeorge made it clear today that there was more work to do after discounting hit sales, but he said the retailer was still trying to clear its stock.

What New Look said

McGeorge said: "As we expected, third quarter trading remained challenging, with sales and margins impacted by the high level of discounts.

"Our immediate priority is to exit the current financial year without excess stock. By entering the 2019 financial year with clean stock levels we will be in a good position to deliver our plans. In particular, we are focusing on reducing costs, recovering the broad appeal of our product and reconnecting with our customers."

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