15th Jun 2018
New Look has announced that 80% of its stock will be sold at under £20 in an attempt to reconnect with its core customers and champion affordability, with a return to “value-led fast fashion”.
The move comes after the struggling chain racked up a huge annual loss of nearly £235m after a difficult year that saw its former boss Alistair McGeorge reinstated to his role of executive chairman.
McGeorge blamed the poor performance, which included a 19.2% drop in website sales, on the previous management’s decision to target a “young and edgy audience”.
“We lost connection with our core customers and got our stock packages wrong,” he admitted.
All the while, sales at online rivals such as Boohoo, which owns the PrettyLittleThings and Nasty Gal brands, have soared – group sales were up 52% in the three months to 31 May – thanks to a strategy of targeting a new generation of customers who shop via social media.
“Last year was undoubtedly very difficult for New Look, with a well-documented combination of external and self-inflicted issues impacting our performance,” said McGeorge. “Since November, we have focused on making the necessary changes to get the company back on track and reconnect with our customers.”
He added: “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.”
The news comes in what has been a period of uncertainty for the high street. In the past week, House of Fraser announced plans to shut half of its UK stores, while discount chain Poundland went into administration.