Business

Embattled New Look goes £520m into red - but could open new Belfast store

Fashion retailer New Look closed its store in Belfast's Donegall Place earlier this year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

EMBATTLED fashion retailer New Look could open a new store in Belfast - despite plunging deeper into the red with annual losses of more than £500 million.

The chain reported pre-tax losses of £522.2 million for the year to March 30, against losses of £190.2 million the previous year after writing off £402 million of goodwill and brand value.

But it said it is considering opening some stores where it has recently closed - such as Belfast.

In January New Look, which has around 20 shops in Northern Ireland, said it would close its store at Donegall Place in central Belfast to make way for a new second city centre outlet for Primark, which at that time was seeking floor space following the August fire which gutted Bank Buildings.

The group - which has been shutting stores under a major overhaul - saw sales falls narrow and reported an improved performance at the operating level as it posted underlying profits of £33.2 million against losses of £35.7 million the previous year.

It reported core like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland down 1.6 per cent against the 11.6 per cent tumble seen the previous year.

Total group-wide annual revenues fell 3.8 per cent to £1.2 billion as it shut stores and focused on more profitable sales.

New Look has closed 102 stores as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and has retrenched from overseas markets, but said it is ahead of plan with cost savings of more than £80 million and was eyeing further efficiencies in the new financial year.

It has the option on nearly another 200 stores to give 60 days' notice of closure, but said it has "no intention" currently to shut more outlets.

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