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New Look swings to loss amid torrid trading on the high street

New Look has been shutting stores and cutting jobs (Yui Mok/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

Fashion chain New Look has swung to a full-year loss amid plunging sales on the high street and online.

The retailer reported an operating loss of £74.3 million for the year to March 24, having made £97.6 million profit in the previous year.

New Look’s sales in the UK fell by 11.7% on a like-for-like basis, accelerating from a decline of 6.8% the year before. Website sales slumped by 19.2%.

Total revenue was £1.34 billion, down from £1.45 billion year on year.

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The business was hit with a £34.2 million one-off cost, which included an exceptional charge from stock clearances.

Alistair McGeorge, New Look’s executive chairman, said: “Last year was undoubtedly very difficult for New Look, with a well-documented combination of external and self-inflicted issues impacting our performance.

“Trading conditions will remain tough in the year ahead, but further operational efficiencies and a resolute focus on our core strengths and heartland customer will help to ensure we remain on the right track.”

New Look launched a restructuring plan in March, announcing that it would shut 60 stores as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), affecting 980 jobs.

The company said on Tuesday that the CVA would allow the business to save £40 million.

The poor trading news from New Look comes after House of Fraser proposed a CVA, saying it intended to shut 31 stores, putting 6,000 jobs at risk.

Mothercare and Carpetright have also undertaken CVAs so far this year in a bid to save on costs.

Torrid trading on the high street has triggered a swathe of retail failures, with Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld all entering administration.