New Look narrows losses in Q1 but sales drop
Fashion retailer New Look narrowed losses in the first quarter as it reaped the rewards of a recent restructuring programme, but sales declined.
In the 13 weeks to 29 June, statutory pre-tax losses narrowed to £2.7m from £15.5m in the first quarter of last year, even as core total revenues fell 14% to £258.3m.
Revenues were hit by continued consumer uncertainty and "the most unseasonable May and June on record", which impacted footfall across the retail sector and pushed core like-for-like sales down 10.1%.
New Look's narrowed loss was mainly due to a successful and significant restructuring aimed at reducing its long-term debt, which fell from roughly £1.35bn to £350m.
Despite the "challenging" start to the year, chief operating officer Nigel Oddy said the group had started to see further improvements in the second quarter, driven by operational changes stemming from the restructuring.
In the eight weeks to 24 August, like-for-like sales increased 2.2%.
Oddy said: "Having visited many stores across the country during my first six months with the business, it is clear to me that New Look’s localness - breadth of our estate and the convenient locations of our stores - is an inherent strength for us to leverage.
"We are prudently investing in refreshing some of our smaller stores through our 'Revive' store refurbishment programme."