Fashion retailer New Look holds off on French store closure as talks continue
today Sep 18, 2018
French media are calling it a major about-face. As revealed last week by the employees of the French subsidiary of New Look, the British fashion retailer activated an employment protection plan affecting 262 jobs, and causing the close-down of 21 out of the retailer's 32 French stores. New Look’s Calais store, located in the Cité Europe shopping mall, was slated to close down on Saturday September 15, so its staff were told. But the employees mobilised against the decision, and the retailer's management has now stated that the store will stay open until the end of 2018.
New Look’s management explained its about-turn in an email, which local paper Nord Littoral managed to glean: “The group's management would like to inform you that, after negotiations with the landlord of the Calais store, the latter will remain open until December 31 2018. (...) This extension has been negotiated to promote a constructive dialogue with the staff, through the employee committee, regarding our protection plan project.”
Monday September 17 was a crucial day, the date of the first meeting between the management and the employee representatives to negotiate the implementation of the employment protection plan. It was also the date of the hearing requested by the employees before the High Court of Paris, to obtain a moratorium on the planned closures. The employees also staged a demonstration there, and a ruling is expected to be made by Tuesday.
In the 2017-18 financial year, New Look’s sales in France took a 13.6% plunge and were worth €57.9 million, compared to €67.05 million in the previous year. The budget fashion retailer is also struggling on its domestic market, the UK, where it is planning to cut nearly 1,000 jobs and to close down about 60 stores.
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