In Brief

New Look store closures put hundreds of jobs at risk

Embattled fashion retailer considers shutting up to 100 shops as part of its turnaround scheme

New Look looks set to axe up to 100 stores in the latest worrying sign for the British high street.

The struggling fashion retailer is considering additional shop closures on top of 60 that were revealed in March, bosses announced yesterday.

The move, part of a series of measures aimed at cutting costs and improving profitability, will put hundreds of jobs at risk.

It came as New Look unveiled a return to profitability, booking underlying operating profits of £22.2 million in the first half of the year, up significantly from a £10.4 million loss the same period a year earlier, according to the Retail Gazette.

This is despite revenues continuing to fall 4.2% and like-for-likes dropping 3.7%, although this is a “major improvement” on the 8.6% decline seen in the previous year, it adds.

Last month the clothing chain announced plans to end its retail business in China, with other international operations in France and Belgium also under review.

Executive chairman Alistair McGeorge said the turnaround scheme was beginning to produce results, but warned that New Look faced “significant headwinds and uncertainties,” including Brexit.

"Clearly the wider retail environment remains challenging and we are not expecting that to change anytime soon,” he added. “However, we are on the right track and continue to drive further efficiencies across the business.”

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