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New Look announces board changes amid challenging period

Fashion retailer New Look says goodbye to UK & Ireland managing director Danny Barrasso today, after five years at the business.

In a statement released on Thursday, the company announced that Mark Axon will be re-joining as retail director for UK & Ireland on 19 February. He was previously with New Look from 2012 to 2014, and has been brought back in during a challenging period for the organisation.

Results released this week show that in the 39 weeks to 23 December 2017, New Look group revenue was down by 6.3% to £1.07 billion contributing to a loss before tax of £123.5 million.

Even online sales – a growth area for most high street fashion businesses and, until recently, New Look itself – were down by 15% year on year, although third-party eCommerce sales were up by 21.9% during the period.

Barrasso’s departure comes after UK like-for-like sales dropped by 10.7% over the year.

New Look is mulling over a company voluntary arrangement, among other options including store closures as it looks to get back on track. Sales and profitability have fallen dramatically after a period of consecutive annual growth, with its eCommerce business expanding rapidly in recent years.

Sales and margins have been impacted by the high level of discounts at the company, and chairman Alistair McGeorge said the business is focusing on reducing costs, recovering the broad appeal of its product and reconnecting with its customers. He also suggested better alignment is needed between eCommerce and stores.

Commenting on this week’s senior management changes, he added: "I would like to thank Danny for the significant contribution he has made during his five years at New Look. We wish him well for the future.

"We look forward to welcoming Mark back to the business. Mark brings a wealth of retail expertise and his prior experience at the company will be valuable as we rebuild our position within the UK market."

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