New Look aims to cut 980 jobs as part of proposal to reduce rent and close stores

Helen Cahill
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New Look's sales fell in the lead-up to Christmas (Source: New Look website)

New Look has announced it is aiming to cut 980 jobs as part of plans to close stores and reduce its rent burden.

The retailer is proposing a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to creditors, which would allow it to bring down its rents and revise the terms on leases agreed with landlords.

Read more: New Look to ring round landlords ahead of possible rent reductions

If creditors agree to the proposal, New Look will close 60 of its 593 stores, and an additional six sites which are sub-let. The chain will also cut its rent on a further 393 stores.

Creditors will vote on the proposal on 21 March. New Look said all of its stores will remain open while it consults with landlords and other parties.

"Given our challenged trading performance and over-rented UK store estate, we are having to take tough but necessary actions to reduce our fixed cost base and restore long-term profitability," said Alistair McGeorge, executive chairman of New Look.

"We have held constructive dialogue with our key landlords and strategic partners and will now seek creditor approval on our CVA proposal. A priority for us is to keep all potentially affect colleague informed during this during this difficult time."

New Look's finance director Richard Collyer was seeking approval for the agreement at the end of February, following a tough Christmas for the firm.

Some credit insurers have cut or reduced cover on New Look's goods, meaning suppliers could be forced to demand upfront payments for suppliers, putting even more strain on the business.

Stephanie Pollitt, assistant director at the British Property Federation (BPF) said: “These situations are never easy as landlords need to take into consideration the impact on their investors, including those protecting pensioners’ savings, as they vote on the CVA proposal.

"Ultimately, it will be for individual landlords to decide how they will vote on the CVA, but the proposal has sought to find a solution that works for all parties.”

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